Council: Expand Library Card Act

To Give More Students Access To Books

The New York City Council voted unanimously last Wednesday Apr. 18, to expand City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer’s Library Card Act.

As described, Intro. No. 711-A is a part of Van Bramer’s ongoing efforts to provide every child in New York City with a library card. The new law expands Local Law 8, the Library Card Act, and will require city agencies that have extensive interaction with young people at risk to make available library card applications at New York City’s three public library systems.

The four city agencies who will participate in the new legislation are the Department of Youth and Community Development, the Administration for Children’s Services, the Human Resources Administration and the Department of Homeless Services.

With the economic downturn, more and more families with children are experiencing poverty, hunger, and homelessness. Public libraries and their collections and programs, which are all free, offer an opportunity to es- cape from crisis, Van Bramer noted.

“Library cards are great equalizers offering all people the opportunity to better their lives,” said Van Bramer about the expansion of his Library Card Act. “They represent a passport to knowledge and hope for a brighter future. It is my goal that every young person in the City of New York has a library card in their pocket. This legislation continues to expand the number of young people who have library cards and will help them access our libraries as well as the gold mine of educational resources within them.”

This new law builds upon the success of the Library Card Act of 2010, which successfully mandated the Department of Education to distribute library card applications to new students. Since the bill was passed, in the first year alone, over 100,000 young people have received library cards in the City of New York.

The new bill will also require the Department of Education to distribute library card information starting when a student enters pre-kindergarten.

“Public libraries are primary connectors to educational, health and human services in every neighborhood. By increasing awareness of such a powerful resource right in the

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