First graders get carded

Published 10:56 pm Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Salem Elementary first grade student Emmanuel Edwards, 6, will keep his new library card safe in his pocket.

“We get to keep it,” Emmanuel said. “It’s all ours.”

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Salem Elementary students were the initial group of first graders from Selma City and Dallas County Schools to visit the Selma-Dallas County Public Library to receive library cards Wednesday.

First grade is the youngest a child must be to own a library card.

“They get a chance to go to the school library once a week, but they really like coming here to the big library,” said Lakeshia Lewis, first grade teacher at Salem Elementary.

Becky Nichols, library director, issued a library card and mini “travel card” to each student. To ensure students will not lose the travel card, Nichols attached the card to a lanyard necklace students decorated with plastic beads.

“They can keep track of the one on the necklace better than the big library card because they usually have that one around their neck,” Lewis said. “They wear it whenever they come to school. Even when they come to our little library, they’ll have that necklace on.”

During this week and next week, the library will issue a total of about 600 cards to the students.

“Getting your first library card is a big hoorah,” Nichols said. “It’s just a big moment. We have kids that come in and when they’ve just tipped six years of age, and they’re beaming at the desk to get their card. So, based on that enthusiasm, and just that fact that we knew that transportation was probably an issue for a lot of our parents and families, we thought, well, let’s just have a campaign to being in every first grader.”

This is the eighth year for the library’s system-wide card issuance. Nichols does not know how much this program has increased library usage, but as long as the child comes back any number of times, it’s worth it.

“When you take the time to make kids feel special like this, then you almost guarantee they’re going to come back, at least once or twice, if no other reason than just to see just what happens here,” Nichols said.