Today’s libraries are about more than books. They are creative educational spaces for learners from birth to high school and beyond. September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when the Kingsport Public Library joins with the American Library Association and public libraries nationwide to make sure that every student has the most import school supply of all – a free library card.
Librarians provide important resources to families whose children are at the earliest stages of development, by teaching parents and caregivers the components of early literacy which help children develop the basic tools for school readiness. As of 2010, libraries in the United States offered more than 2.3 million children’s programs, which account for nearly two thirds of all library programming.
Older students can access high-speed Internet, digital tools and the opportunity to work with trained professionals on how to use them. Librarians provide guided training in digital media and grow digital literacy skills. Libraries also provide equity of access to digital tools and media, which has become increasingly important in high-poverty areas where students are less likely to have a computer or internet access in the home.
Libraries are also a training ground for students of all ages to expand their knowledge and explore creative pursuits. The development of makerspaces is just one way libraries are seeking to meet this demand, ranging from low-tech, hands-on engineering opportunities for children and teens using toys and kits to the incorporation of high-tech tools like 3D printers.
Resources at the Kingsport Public Library are available to anyone who has a library card. Students can turn to the library for materials, programs and knowledgeable library staff that support academic achievement.
“Our library provides access and programs for students of all ages,” says Kingsport Library Director Helen Whittaker. “For preschool age children we offer early literacy and storytimes to encourage school readiness, for older children and teens we supplement education with hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) programs, and for nontraditional students we offer GED resources. We even have thousands of e-book downloads. There’s really something for everyone, and it’s all free with a library card.”
For more information on how to sign up for a library card or the September program calendar, visit the Kingsport Public Library or visit online at www.kingsportlibrary.org.