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Library welcomes Kindergarteners

The Selma and Dallas County Public Library welcomes first graders to the library at the beginning of each school year to introduce them to the facility and give them their own library card.

This year, however, as the school year draws to a close, the library welcomed kindergarteners in to get their card before summer starts.

“We have always done ‘Welcome to Your Library’ with first graders, and that’s a great success,” said Becky Nichols, library director. “But what we decided this year, was because kindergarten is so excited about reading and it’s right before the summer, and our chances of getting those kids in here for the summer are tremendous, getting them in here with a library card is even better.”

The library offers summer programs for the children while school is out, and Nichols said that is the perfect opportunity for the kids to check out books and dive into reading.

“I know they’re going to come for the summer programs. But this way, they can start checking out books and getting that exciting reading that we want them to have,” Nichols said.

Gwen Carrington, reading coordinator for the Dallas County School System, said she was excited to partner with the library and offer this to the young kids.

“Reading is so important, and the earlier we get them engaged in books and learning the importance of reading or being read to, it increases their motivation, it increases all that we want them to have for life long learning,” Carrington said.

“As kindergarteners, this means that they will get a head start in coming to the library. [Our hope] is that they will be so motivated that they will continue to come with their library card and see what the library is all about.”

Thursday, Salem Elementary School students were the first ones to get their cards. The students filed in the library, and made their way up to the children’s section where they were greeted by library staff. Nichols talked to them about why they were there. Then, they enjoyed a puppet show and decorated the string that their card attaches to.

“For me, to see those faces light up when they see the fish or the hamsters, it’s just hard to describe,” Nichols said of kids enjoying themselves at the library.  “When you see the face of a child truly happy, it’s worth a million.”

Nichols said she hopes that the children will want to return, and by doing so, will invite their parents, friends and family out to participate as well.

“It’s National Library Week, and the theme this year is ‘Libraries Lead,’ Nichols said. “What we’re doing, is we’re going to lead with 5-year-olds.”