Last Friday, 30 first graders from Randall Holden Elementary School had the opportunity to explore the Warwick Public Library’s Children’s Library and take out books with their own library cards for the first time.
The Warwick Public Library has partnered with Warwick Public Schools to provide every first grader in the city with a library card during a special event at the facility. Each elementary school has been working to schedule a day where the school’s first grade classes can come to the library for a tour and to provide children who do not have library cards with their own. Once students have their cards, they can explore the Children’s Library and take out one book each. The experience lasts close to an hour.
Library Director Diane Greenwald said the goal of the program is to instill a love of reading at a young age so that the students will become lifelong readers. Greenwald also said the program could boost family attendance at the various libraries in the city because the first graders will want to go to the library to use their own cards.
Library Aid Maureen Mascoli said 301 students had taken part in the new program and 173 were scheduled to come through on field trips before the end of the school year in June.
Pam Miech, a children’s librarian with Warwick Public Library for 18 years, added some of the students did not receive library cards through the program because they already had one; parents can sign-up children for a library card at any age. Miech estimated that 98 percent of first graders who have come through the new program now have a library card, whether they had one before or received one during their visit.
During Randall Holden’s first graders’ trip to the library, many were excited to explore the library, play with puppets and visit the library’s tarantula, Beezus. Librarian Andrea Hutnak walked the students through how to use their library card, what books and movies they could take out and the other benefits of having a library card, such as discounts to Paw Sox games and the zoo.