Sunday, December 10, 2023

Preschoolers get library cards, thanks to the public library

Pre-schoolers at Newport News Public Schools now have access to a public library card. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Pixabay)
Pre-schoolers at Newport News Public Schools now have access to a public library card. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Pixabay)

The Newport News Public Library and the city’s public schools recently created a partnership to give preschoolers a public library card.

The pilot program was announced on Dec. 17.

With the Library Student Connect Card, students will be able to check out up to five juvenile books from all the city’s the public libraries; access all public library e-books and other digital resources and use the filtered computers at the public library.

In addition, students can access the e-books, computers and other digital resources at the libraries, according to a news release from Newport News Public Schools.

“Reading can open doors, unleash a child’s potential, and change the trajectory of a child’s life,” Sonia Alcántara-Antoine, Newport News Public Library director, said in a news release. “We’re excited to put library cards in the hands of Newport News’ children.”

Alcántara-Antoine said there was no particular reason why the program launched in November instead of the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

When asked why the public schools and the public libraries didn’t have a program like this prior to the Student Connect Cards, she said both she and the superintendent are relatively new and they thought it was a good idea and opportunity for the children.

Alcántara-Antoine noted the students currently have access to the school libraries, but this card can provide access to books and technology.

“We’re really pleased with this collaboration with Newport News,” she said.

This isn’t the first partnership between the city schools and libraries.

Sarah Bowman, spokeswoman for the city, wrote in an email the libraries help with after school programs, summer reading programs and provide access to books and technology.

“We provide materials that support children’s education, as well as STREAM programs tailored to students’ needs,” she wrote. “Our afterschool and summer reading programs provide safe and engaging learning activities for kids when they are not in school.”

Bowman said the new library card program is at four of the First Step Schools which are the pre-k students, and for the 2020-2021 school year, the public school system plans to expand the program and give all its students a Student Connect Card.

“Since it’s a pilot year, it allows us to work with a smaller subset of the student populations and iron out the kinks before next year ––– the big year ––– when we focus on providing cards to all the students,” Bowman added.

Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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