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Library encourages young readers

Clark Elementary School students Jaylon Johnson, Sakiya Peasant and Tjkeria Walker work on beaded necklaces to hold their library cards. The students were the first of an expected 600 first -grade students to get their library cards over the next two weeks. -- Rick Couch

While most communities hope to draw kids into the library, the Selma-Dallas County Public Library has taken a proactive approach to get elementary school students hooked on reading.

Selma-Dallas County Public Library director Becky Nichols said for the next two weeks more than 600 first grade students from city, county and private schools will be bussed to the library to sign up for cards.

“Every child will get a pre-registered library card so they can go to work and get reading,” she said. “We collect their information beforehand, so when they get here it is all ready for them.”

Tuesday, which launched the campaign that will bring in students from eight city schools and five county schools, saw Clark Elementary School students coming in as the first of many.

The students used beads and string to create necklaces to help them keep their cards handy at all times.

Nichols said she feels it is very important to bring children to the library because there could be challenges in their lives that make it difficult to get there on their own.

“A lot of times their parents can’t bring them because they have to work or because of transportation issues,” she said. “This is our way of reaching out to our VIPs. They are very important people, especially at this age because this is where you can really build an interest in reading.”

Nichols said the campaign will run this week and next on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and will see more than 100 students enter the library each day.

Clark Elementary School first-grade teacher Alisha Cleveland said the program is very important to her students.

“We love it because it gets the kids reading,” she said. “This is the foundation of their education for years to come, so it builds a love of reading.”
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