MACON, Ga. — The Middle Georgia Regional Library and the Bibb County School District are working together to make sure every student has library access.
They're making it possible through a new program they just started this year. All they have to do is opt in and use their lunch card number as a library card. It will give them access to everything the library has to offer and more.
Lelah Freeland checks out 12 to 15 books from the library weekly. She reads every single one of them.
Freeland says you can catch her somewhere reading a book if she isn't in class at Howard Middle.
"I like that it takes you different lands. You get to learn about different things too, depending on the books you read. It's really fun to do especially when I'm not busy with school or anything else," she said.
She's used her library card faithfully for the last two years, but that's not the case for some students.
"We noticed that there are a number of children that do not have access to a library card, and there are many different reasons," said Jennifer Lautzenheiser.
Lautzenheiser is the director of libraries for the Middle Georgia Regional Library.
She says some of the reasons include; parents not being able to come in and sign their child's library card application, sometimes a child's guardian might not have the authority to sign the contract, or it might just be too big of a financial responsibility.
"In these situations it means the child does not have access to a library card, or any of the resources that we have to provide," she said.
The Bibb County School District is working with the Middle Georgia Regional Library to provide every student with a P.L.A.Y card. That stands for Pines Library Access for Youth.
With the card, students will have access to all of the books and technology.
Students won't have to deal with overdue fines if they return a book late, and they can check out up to five books, audiobooks, CDs or DVDs.
"This is really about continuity of access for our students throughout their educational career," said Lautzenheiser.
She says the goal is for all children to be able to come into the library and use these free resources, starting Oct 1.
She also says that they hope to expand this program throughout the rest of the school districts in Central Georgia so all students can get free books.