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A Library Card for Every Kindergartener

A Library Card for Every Kindergartener
Posted on 12/18/2017
Library CardsCambridge Nears Goal of Universal Library Cards for Kindergartners

“How many books do you think you can check out from the library at one time?” asked Cambridge Public Library’s Amanda Gazin, Children’s Librarian for the Central Square Branch.

The Kindergarteners politely raised their hands. “Ten?” “Two!” “As many as you want to.”

“The real answer,” Gazin said, “is one hundred library books. You can check out one hundred library books at one time. Although, I don’t recommend it.”

“Whoa…” the children moaned in unison.

"You can also check out music, audiobooks, DVD’s… there are lots of things you can do at the library," continued Gazin.

“Whoa!” the children exclaimed, absorbing just how exciting the library can be.

Gazin was visiting the Amigos School library with Director of Libraries Dr. Maria McCauley and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Salim, to celebrate a major accomplishment: nearly doubling the number of library card-holding Kindergarteners from 50% in 2016 to 94% this year.

This feat was accomplished by enlisting the help of Behavioral Policy Expert Todd Rogers of the Harvard Kennedy School to redesign the language and procedure for offering library cards to 5-year-olds through their school.

Library Cards

In the past, Library personnel would distribute "opt-in" forms through School Librarians. Instead, this year an "opt out" form was included in the district's annual forms mailing. As long as families didn't opt out, CPS could share their basic contact information with the Library in order to sign the students up for a card. At the Amigos School, Dr. Salim and Dr. McCauley had the honor of distributing the new library cards to enthusiastic Kindergarteners. Getting down to their level, they shook each child's hand and presented a library gift bag with a warm, “Congratulations.”


Read more in Cambridge Scout