Last week, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke joined top library and Hamilton County Department of Education officials to give kindergartners at Harrison Elementary their first public library card.
In 2011, following the expiration of a sales tax agreement between Chattanooga and Hamilton County, the City of Chattanooga took over funding of the Public Library system, and county residents were charged to use the library. But last year, the Berke Administration allocated funding to ensure free access to all public school students who reside in Hamilton County. Since last fall, when the initiative was launched, over 24,000 students have been issued a free library card.
“No child should be charged to use a public library,” said Berke. “This initiative ensures that kids who are motivated to learn and discover new things have access to one of the best libraries in the country.”
Extending library services to all school aged children in Hamilton County supports school libraries and librarians with additional resources that can be used with students outside the classroom. Interaction with school librarians has been shown to improve student performance and increase reading achievement, the Office of the Mayor said in a press release.
“This new partnership with the Hamilton County Department of Education furthers that mission with the belief that all children deserve access to resources that support learning and education,” the Office of the Mayor said.
Source: Office of the Mayor
To see more photos, pick up a copy of the Hamilton County Herald.