Salina Elementary and Intermediate took a new approach to encouraging reading during November 2021.
The schools used parent-teacher conferences to help parents and students sign up for Dearborn Public Library cards.
Dearborn Library staff were on hand and issued 98 new library cards during the drive.
Ammerah Saidi, a language arts interventionist at Salina Intermediate, came up with the idea of a library card drive after learning that many of her immigrant students did not know what a public library was or how a library card worked.
“When I was a child, my mother, a new immigrant from Yemen, would take us to the Esper branch library quite frequently even though she herself was illiterate,” Saidi said. “She deeply valued education and when our teachers (my siblings and mine) would recommend we read at home, my mother made it her mission to get us books. At that time, we could never afford to purchase books, so the library was a lifesaver. Our libraries are priceless community resources and can change the trajectory of our cities when we value them.”
Saidi arranged for library staff to hold card signups on Nov. 4, 8, 9 and 10 during parent teacher conferences at both Salina Elementary and Salina Intermediate.
Flyers encouraged parents to bring their ID or a utility bill so they could prove residency and get a card.
Having a library card allows parents to access both the physical books, movies, music and more at the three Dearborn Public Library locations, but also provides access to digital materials via a cell phone, tablet or computer.
Salina Intermediate is unique in that it holds a Dearborn Public Library book locker. Public library card holders can request books be delivered to the locker and then use their library card information to retrieve the books from the locker.
Susan Jelic, a children’s librarian with Dearborn Public Library, thanked Saidi for her efforts leading the drive.
“Thank you to the entire school staff for welcoming us into the schools with a warm reception. A special thanks goes to the student volunteers who assisted with Arabic translation. It is our pleasure to serve the Salina family,” Jelic wrote.