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Folsom Public Library launches My First Library Card project

By: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
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The Folsom Public Library is working to give all Folsom kindergarten students public library cards, and so far in its first year, it has been a success.

As a part of the Pacific Library Partnership Student Success Initiative grant, the Folsom Public Library has been working closely with Folsom Cordova Unified School District to ensure all students receive a library card starting when they are in kindergarten. The Folsom Library is one of 36 libraries in the state to participate in this grant.

The intent of The My First Library Card project is to foster library access for all students in the Folsom community.

“We’re trying to get every child in Folsom a public library card in kindergarten. The cards come in a cute little lanyard holder,” said City Librarian Lori Easterwood. “When they activate the card, they also get a free book to keep.”

Visits are underway, with librarians visiting each kindergarten class, 850 students in total, to talk about the My First Library Card project and deliver specially designed library cards.

“We had a kid come the very first day we gave out the cards as soon as school got out. He didn’t even go home first. He told his parents he wanted to activate his library card first,” she said. “They are all so excited to activate their cards.”

Bestselling Author and Illustrator David A. Carter, known for his popup books for children and adults, donated his time and talent to create the new colorful cards for the Folsom Public Library.

“The library is committed to promoting literacy in the community and research shows children who have and use library cards do better in school,” said Youth Services Librarian Debbie Centi. “We are currently providing kindergarten students within the City of Folsom’s 10 FCUSD elementary schools with their very own library card and the students are so excited."

The Friends of the Folsom Library generously provided the funds for the project and ensured that children who return to the library to activate their card with their parent/guardian also receive a free book to keep. Easterwood said the children can choose a book between eight different titles.

“These kindergarteners are coming into the library every day to activate their new cards and look so very proud,” Easterwood said. “Seeing them leave with a stack of books to read makes the library staff very happy, too.” 

So far, more than 115 children have activated their cards and checked out books.

“It’s super important for them to come to the library and own books. It increases their success in school,” Easterwood said. “Reading for pleasure is what kids get to do when they come to the library. It’s a great compliment for their formal education. It gets them really ready to read.”

The My First Library Card project builds on the library’s relationship with area schools and the local school district.

“The response has been great,” Easterwood said. “The teachers are welcoming us into their classrooms and the school district has been a wonderful partner.”

Easterwood said the library is hoping to make this project an annual thing, and they will be seeking out different artists for future cards.

The Folsom Public Library has a long history of providing services to Folsom schools, teachers and students. These include classroom visits, presentations to faculty and parent teacher organizations and early literacy discussions with preschool parents. The library also schedules class tours of the library for interested teachers, provides e-cards for student use in school libraries at Folsom High School, Sutter Middle and Folsom Middle School and supports after school enrichment programs.

For more information about the My First Library Card project or the library, go to library.folsom.ca.us or call 916 461-6132.