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A Library Card for Every Student

By Donna DiMichele | January 19, 2016

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced “Communities across the U.S. Answer Call for a Library Card for Every Student” on January 19.

White House event advances collaborative initiatives
of library, school and elected leaders

Washington, DC–Mayors, county executives, school superintendents, and library leaders from approximately 50 cities and counties are meeting in Washington, DC, today as part of a national initiative to connect students to public library system resources. These communities are among the 60 communities that have answered the call of President Obama’s ConnectED Library Challenge to put a library card in every student’s hand through partnership initiatives.

The “ConnectED Library Challenge: Answering the Call” convening is hosted by the White House with the support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. It is both a strategy session and a celebration of the community leaders who accepted the President’s challenge last April. Both the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) and American Library Association (ALA) are contributing to this important initiative.

“By providing equal access to books, computers, and electronic resources, libraries play an essential role in addressing academic achievement gaps for children living in poverty. But there is more to be done. We know that first grade students who have library cards are more than twice as likely to visit libraries as other first graders,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “The leaders who have responded to the ConnectED Library Challenge are making great strides to serve these children, and we are extremely grateful for their extraordinary efforts.”

“There can be no more important partnership than local elected officials joining with public school and public library leaders to ensure our nation’s children have access to the universe of resources-books, technology and smart people-for a 21st century education,” said ULC President and CEO Susan Benton. “The White House ConnectED Library Challenge showcases how kids benefit when leaders work together at the local level.”

“I know from my experience that when you link the school library, the school and the public library, that collaboration gives every student access to a rich collection of resources that improves their education,” said ALA President Sari Feldman, executive director of the Cuyahoga County Public Library.

Many jurisdictions that have taken the challenge have adopted creative and unique ways to break down barriers and provide library access. Some local governments have introduced cards that provide free or discounted access to multiple municipal services for young people — the public library, recreation facilities, public transportation, and cultural facilities. Other partnerships are using student ID numbers to provide easy access to library resources.


The information from the summit and information gathered as part of this first stage of the ConnectED Library Challenge will be used in the development of a national report which will be widely distributed.

Note: Contact IMLS Communications and Government Affairs Office at 202-653-4757 for event photos. Follow the event on Twitter with #librariesforall

Topics: 21st Century Skills in Libraries, ALA, Events, IMLS, Literacy | Comments Off on A Library Card for Every Student

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