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County Launches New Initiative to Ensure Students Have Access to Library Cards

Montgomery County Public Libraries and Montgomery County Public Schools have launched Library Link, an initiative designed to connect students with the wide-ranging resources of the library system to guarantee every child enrolled in school can receive a library card. The program is part of a nationwide initiative to ensure students have library cards and can use the resources of the local libraries.

The launch comes before Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett is scheduled to attend a January 19 White House conference to discuss and share Montgomery County strategies in support of President Obama’s ConnectEd Library Challenge: Answering the Call. the ConnectED Library Challenge is a commitment by more than 30 communities to work to put a library card into every student’s hand as soon as they enter school.

Leggett joined MCPS Interim School Superintendent Larry Bowers, Councilmember George Leventhal, County Public Libraries Director Parker Hamilton and Montgomery County Board of Education members Patricia O'Neill, Christopher S. Barclay, Philip Kauffman, Jill Ortman-Fouse, and Rebecca Smondrowski to introduce Library Link to students at Harmony Hills Elementary School in Silver Spring yesterday.

“Every elementary school student in this County should have their own library card,” said Leggett. “This collaboration between two of our leading County institutions, the public library system and the public schools, will help make that a reality.”

MCPL can be a bridge for youth with limited resources to access educational resources. With 21 public branches across the county, a library card can connect student to adventure, exploration, excitement and provide youth with the option to borrow and take materials home.

In addition to checking out materials, modern libraries have become technical and digital hubs that can ensure students are connected to important tools such as test preparation materials, electronic databases. Libraries offer quiet spaces for children to do their homework and provide a safe place for students to read and enjoy all of the library offerings.

"Public libraries are a creative, accessible resource for our students to continue learning and exploring in their out-of-school hours,” said Bowers. "The Library Link program builds on that natural relationship between public schools and libraries by proactively helping our students get access to library cards.”

“We commend Montgomery County Public Libraries and Montgomery County Public Schools for transforming President Obama’s national library challenge into a local reality for our students,” remarked O’Neill. “Library Link brings together two of the most important cornerstones in every community -- public schools and public libraries -- to give students greater access to millions of books, online resources and more.”

"This collaborative initiative will ensure that every student has opportunity to have their own library card”, said Hamilton. “Our modern libraries give the option of technology and internet access and provide everything from downloading music to checking out books to take home.”

For information on how to sign up for a library card, visit any MCPL branch or apply online at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library.

Caption: Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal, who chairs the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee which oversees libraries, on Jan. 13 talked to students at Harmony Hills Elementary School in Silver Spring at the launch of the County’s participation in the “Library Link” program. Montgomery County Public Libraries and Montgomery County Public Schools are combining efforts in the national initiative to make sure every student gets a library card and becomes more aware of the many resources County libraries have available.

Photo provided by MCPS.

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