Get library cards to boost student learning and engagement
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Every student deserves access to a quality education.  Regardless of political party or ideology, we can agree that education is an important foundation for opportunity and future success.  As the new school year gets fully underway for nearly 50 million youth across the U.S., we hope their library cards are among the first items they grab in the morning when they leave for the day.

September is National Library Card Sign-up Month, and we are urging families across Ohio and the nation to celebrate with a trip to the library.  In our congressional districts, Cuyahoga County Public Library - in collaboration with Parma City School District and with the support of Mayor Timothy DeGeeter - is issuing library cards to the approximately 11,000 K-12 students in the district.

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Library cards help our students succeed.  We have seen first-hand the impact libraries and librarians have on the lives of families in our districts:

·         More than 87 percent of K-2 students who participate in Cuyahoga County Public Library’s free, one-on-one reading tutoring program for at-risk kids report reading improvement after the program year.

·         Cuyahoga County Public Library’s Homework Center program serves nearly 2,000 students in grades K-8 annually, and 93 percent of participants’ parents/guardians report seeing improved grades as a result.

Learning does not stop at the classroom door or at the end of the day when the school bell rings.  Federal and state cooperation, parental involvement, and community engagement are all vital to the education of our youth, inside the classroom and beyond.

Libraries across the nation recently wrapped up summer programs that keep kids engaged so they can return to school with stronger reading skills when the school year starts.  A national research report found that students who participated in public library summer reading programs scored higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of the next school year than those students who did not participate. 

Libraries also play an important role in the after-school hours, providing a safe physical space as well as a robust collection of digital resources available to students without home internet access.  Libraries in our districts offer dedicated homework centers for students in K-8 get help with a range of school subjects, reading boot camps to boost skills for students struggling to keep pace, and even family literacy nights to support learning together.

These increasingly technology-rich programs and services serve as a bridge to educational and economic opportunity for students of all incomes and backgrounds. This is why we believe communities throughout the country should create or strengthen partnerships with their libraries so that every child enrolled in school can receive a library card.

During National Library Card Sign-up Month, we invite our colleagues to visit their local libraries, support important community connections between our schools and libraries, and encourage families to get an essential education and learning resource: a library card.

Let’s leverage the power of our nation’s 16,536 public libraries and hundreds of thousands of librarians working in schools and public libraries to drive academic success.

Kaptur has represented Ohio’s 9th Congressional District since 1983. She sits on the Appropriations Committee. Renacci has represented Ohio’s 16th Congressional District since 2011. He sits on the Ways and Means Committee.