SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ –The South Plainfield School District (SPSD) announced last month a partnership with the public library. Together, district administrators will work with representatives of the South Plainfield Public Library to help raise awareness of the various materials, programs, and resources the library has available to students and their families. 

“We have a wonderful relationship and partnership with the borough and share a lot of services. I feel that the library is a wonderful asset here that we are not utilizing fully,” said Dr. Noreen Lishak, superintendent of the South Plainfield School District.

Through the partnership, which will be facilitated by Library Director Linda Hansen and SPSD Supervisor of Technology and Curriculum Annemarie Stoeckel, who also serves as the district’s library liaison, the goal is to help expose local students to the library at any early age. 

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“I think it’s wonderful for us to work with the schools to build upon our existing partnership,” said Hansen, noting that while many South Plainfield students are familiar faces at the library throughout the year, the goal is ‘always to increase involvement.’

“We see a certain percentage of kids who we know from their attendance at library programs as well as coming in to borrow materials on their own, but we would love for that percentage to increase,” said Hansen. 

According to Stoeckel, developing a love for reading aside from what is done in school is very important. “Sometimes, when reading is done for a school assignment, students tend to think of it as something that is mandated,” she said. “We want to help develop their love of reading in an area or topic of interest and help them find their passion and not just read to fulfill an assignment for school. This opportunity can help do that.”

Beginning this spring, first grade classes from each of the district’s four elementary buildings will take a trip to the library during the school day. There, they will have the opportunity to take part in a special activity as well as get their own library card, learn about upcoming programs, and check out age-appropriate materials. They will then be able to return with their parents/caregivers to return the books and/or take part in upcoming programs.

“The hope is this will also bring the parents to the library as well,” said Lishak, adding that while each district school has a library or media center, public library’s such as South Plainfield’s have ‘so much more to offer.’ “The ultimate goal is to let our students and their families understand the importance of the library and all the resources available to them.”

“Providing district students with an opportunity to come here will hopefully enable both us and the school district to reach more school-aged children and spark a love for reading for many,” said Hansen.

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