First Library Card Campaign and Ninth Grade Library Card Campaign

Students from Mr. Van Dusen's first grade class at Lynn/Urquides Elemantary School. Click to view larger photo.

Our library card campaign, First Library Card, aims to get 100% of all first-grade students in Pima County a new library card featuring our children's mascot, Alizandro Lizard.

Encouraging your children to read and use the library is the best thing you can do to help them to do better in school and continue learning throughout their lives.

Whether your child is a soccer fan or anime fan, or interested in space or dolls, the library has books, magazines, CDs and DVDs to help satisfy his or her interests. The First Library Card also ensures filtered Internet access on library computers and is the student ticket to online homework help and other Web resources.

How it works:

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Who is eligible:

All first grade classrooms in Pima County (public, private, charter, and parochial); homeschooling teachers may also participate.

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Why does the library do this program?

Students from Mr. Van Dusen's first grade class at Lynn/Urquides Elemantary School. Click to view larger photo.
  • Arizona's reading achievement scores remained stable between 1992 and 2002 but lagged behind the national average.
  • Reading well and frequently is the key to being successful in school and subsequently in our society. Regular library use helps create strong readers.
  • There is a direct correlation between the number and variety of reading materials available to a child and standardized test scores (Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ). The more reading materials a child has, the more successful they will be in their educational pursuits.
  • Having a library card is a critical first step in becoming a lifelong library user, and is the gateway to obtaining full access to a range of services within the library and online. When children possess their own library card, a door opens for them to become regular library users. They are also more likely to view themselves as readers, and a child's self-identity as a reader is one predictor of their future success with reading. Children who are exposed to reading and other cultural experiences before entering school have a better chance at formal learning success. (Becoming a Nation of Readers, Commission on Reading).
  • There is a connection between early reading and literacy building activities in the home and later achievement in school. Children who don't get reading building blocks early in life are more likely to be at low levels of academic performance by age ten. Students who do not master reading skills by the third grade remain in the lowest achievement levels in later years. This leads to some alarming trends for Arizona children and families, including the worst drop out rate in the nation.

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Frequently asked questions:

First grade students from Mrs. Gonzales' class at Lynn/Urquides Elementary. Click for larger photo.

Q: Some of my students already have cards. Do they need to reapply?
A: Parents can take 1st graders who already have a card to a library, and by presenting their card, they will receive a special gift along with library information.

Q: I don't teach first grade. How can I get this for my class?
A: This program is only for first grade classes; however, you can get library cards for your class by visiting your nearest public library and requesting library card applications. Public library tours and class visits are also possible, depending on library staffing. Ask your neighborhood librarian for more information.

Q: I am a parent who would like to participate.
A: Parents of all first-graders are encouraged to talk to their children's teacher to find out how they can participate.

Q: What do I do if some of my students have had cards but have lost them?
A: Have the student's parent fill out an application and we will make them new cards. There is no charge.

Q: My child has an older card with fines on it. Will they be able to get a new card with the rest of their class? What happens to the fines?
A: Your child will get a new card with the rest of the class if you fill an application out and get it to his or her teacher. Your child's fines up to $5.00 will be waived unless the card is in "collections" status. As with everyone else, when fines total more than $5.00 the new card may not be used to check out library materials until a payment is made. Fines do not affect free library computer use or access to databases.

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Statistics:

There are a total of approximately 650 first-grade classrooms in Pima County.

2010-2011

  • 339 first-grade classrooms participated
  • 7,484 students either got cards or reported that they had cards (a 49.9% increase in the number of students!)

2009-2010

  • 336 first-grade classrooms participated
  • 4,990 students either got cards or reported that they had cards

2008-2009

  • 482 first-grade classrooms participated
  • 5,569 students either got cards or reported that they had cards

View a list, by school district, of the classrooms that had 100% participation in 2009.

2007-2008

More than three times as many first-grade students participated in the program this year. And more than four times as many classrooms requested starter kits.

  • 424 first-grade classrooms participated
  • 3,821 students either got cards or reported that they had cards

View a list, by school district, of the classrooms that had 100% participation in 2008.

2006-2007

  • 112 classrooms participated
  • 1,202 students either got cards or reported that they had cards

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Thank you to our current and former sponsors!

The Pima County Public Library would like to thank the following agencies for their generous funding:

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Ninth Grade Library Card Campaign

The goal of the Ninth Grade Library Card Campaign is to make certain that as many ninth graders as possible have and use library cards. Library staff visits a ninth grade class bringing with them library cards, a handy card pouch, and information about the local branch for each student. During the visit we tell the students about Homework Help, online databases and resources, teen events, and let them know about other reasons they'll want to have a library card. Please contact your local branch for a library staff member to visit your ninth grade English or Language Arts class.

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Pima County Website