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Mayor and Council President Are First in Line for New Library Cards
Press Release August 29, 2006
For information, please contact:
Heidi Cramer – (973) 733-7837 or
Desiree Peterkin Bell/Mayorís Office – (973) 733-6368

In the school of politics, Newark Mayor Cory Booker has a different supply list than the parents of the cityís kindergarten-through-12th back-to-schoolers, but his number one must-have item is still a Newark Public Library card.

The Mayor and long-time library supporter, City Council President Mildred Crump, picked up their new cards today and encouraged adults, children and parents to sign up for or renew their free library memberships as Newark and libraries across the country gear up for National Library Card Sign-Up month in September.

"When parents start accumulating back-to-school supplies and clothing for their children, the single greatest gift they can provide their child is one that costs the least: a Newark Public Library card," Booker pointed out.

He noted, "Library cards do more than merely let you borrow books from any of our branches of The Newark Public Library. They are keys that open up the treasure chests of learning, knowledge, culture, imagination and inspiration. With a Newark Public Library card in your possession, you can open your mind to any idea—new or old—and expand your vision and horizons beyond any distance. I urge all Newark families to join with me today in getting a Newark Public Library card."

"Mayor Booker and Council President Crump are setting a great example for our cityís youngsters by being first in line for a new card," said Library Director Wilma J. Grey.

"I encourage everyone who lives, works and attends school in Newark—from the smallest tot to senior citizens—to utilize our free public library," said Crump. She recalled receiving her first library card at age six when her father took her to the library in her native Detroit and signed her up. "He taught me the love of reading and it has stayed with me all of my life," she said, urging every parent and caregiver to introduce his or her young charges to books.

"It is important for children to experience the treasure of books at an early age because it opens up a whole new world to them. Books offer literary exposure to people. They enable youngsters to learn about their own and othersí history and culture and about places, people and events they might never experience," she said. Crump has been a member of the Friends of the Newark Public Library for many years.

"Getting a library card couldnít be easier," Grey said, "especially during Library Card Sign-Up Month when our librarians will leave their books to visit the cityís parks and playgrounds, stadiums and community centers, churches and day care centers to make it even easier for people to apply for a card."

Librarians even hope to set up a booth in busy Penn Station one day to snag commuters as they bustle through the cityís transportation hub.

"People have all kinds of cards in their wallets—credit cards, bank cards, business cards, Metro cards—but the smartest card of all is a Newark Public Library Card," Grey said. "A library card is the key to learning, information and entertainment."

The Newark Public Library issues cards free of charge to residents, employees of local businesses, city workers, landowners, taxpayers and the residents of city shelters and halfway houses. For a $50 fee, the library will issue cards to borrowers without a direct connection to Newark.

Children under 14 who apply for a card with a parent or guardian can get one immediately. Anyone 14 or older must present identification and proof of residency or employment in the city. That proof can be a school identification card, a report card, a driverís license, a utility bill, bank statement or other mail delivered within the last 30 days. Those working for a local business can present a company identification badge, a pay stub or present a letter from their employer as proof.

"Library cards are free," Grey said. "They offer immediate access to our entire collection of books, magazines, newspapers, videos, music and other materials. They are the most important back-to-school supply for children and parents alike."

According to a recent survey from the National Retail Federation, parents will spend over $17 billion on back-to-school supplies. A library card provides free access to the more than $1 billion worth of materials—including DVDs, CDs, books, and online resources—bought by public libraries annually.

"No parent can afford to overlook the great resources freely available in our nationís libraries," said American Library Association President and Princeton Library Director Leslie Burger. "Studies show that children who are read to in the home and who use the library perform better in school and are more likely to continue to use the library as a source of lifetime learning."

The Library is available 24 hours a day with access to online magazine articles, newspapers, encyclopedias and other resources, as well as to reserve books from the catalog or renew materials.

For more information about Newark Library card sign-up events and a list of library branches or requirements for obtaining a library card, please call 973-733-7784 or log on to www.npl.org.

Click here to see photos from the kick-off event.

 

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