MILLBURN, NJ — As part of an initiative to convey the love of reading to students, the Millburn Middle School Library recently partook in the “Libraries = Success” program, hosted by the State Public Library of New Jersey.
Amy Ipp, the Millburn Middle School librarian, applied for the program, which aimed to get more middle school students signed up with library cards in their local libraries.
Ipp described the importance of the program by saying: “We [the Millburn Middle School Library] focus on curriculum materials as well as popular books… Whereas the public library has something for a broader range of people, and they have special programs that we don’t have access to for eBooks and audiobooks.”
The head of public services at the Millburn Public Library, Sarah Pardi, reaffirmed that: “Working closely with the public schools allows us to better understand students and deliver tools to them. The physical Library also functions as a "third space" between home and school for many students- a place where they can socialize, collaborate, read and explore.”
After Ipp’s application was approved, the next step was to come up with ideas for how to interest students in the resources they could find at the public library.
Ipp decided that the program would be perfect for students who had just moved to the district from other countries and/or didn’t speak English too well. So, she reached out to the middle school ELL teacher, Dana Tinajero. Tinajero was immediately supportive.
When asked why she supported the program, Tinajero said “the library and its resources are an essential part of a student’s life because reading is one of the most important ways to foster language development.”
Ipp and Tinajero took a group of students on a field trip to the Millburn Free Public Library, where they went on a tour, received library cards, and participated in a giveaway hosted by the state library. Many also checked out books.
In addition, the Middle School invited the Millburn Public Library to set up a table during sixth grade Back to School Night to issue cards and spread awareness of the resources available at the library.
The connection between these two libraries extended to the Middle School special education program, specifically on how to download eBooks and audiobooks for free. The Public Library also came to the Middle School library for this event. Out of the 66 students who attended, 59 were issued library cards.
Ipp said: “I think that’s a pretty good number in an affluent town like we have because people are educated and aware of what value a public library can have.”
Ipp, Pardi, and Tinajero are excited to continue this program in the future to help Millburn students in any way they can, with both their current lives as students and with building strong lifelong habits.