Who knows what a card catalog is? When is the last time you checked out a book? One Massachusetts library is using $10,000 to teach kids how to use the library and check out a book.
"Some kids are surprised they can check out a book without paying for it," said librarian Nicole Irvin.
Irvin says she has been at the Fitchburg Public Library for four years, and she’s seen kids come in and out for story time. She says she would love to see more take advantage of their programming and finding books.
"I think we do have a lot of distractions," she said. "This day I struggle with my own son to put down his device and pick up a book."
Irvin hopes the grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services will help teach kids how to use the library, a lost art.
"Our job is teaching children how to find the resources they need. We don’t make anyone memorize the Dewey Decimal System. But we do share with them how to get into our stacks and look around," said Irvin.
Kids like Genesis Guadalupe, a high school freshman, come to the library often. She says she doesn’t know what the Dewey Decimal System is, but she browses for the books she likes to read.
Fifth-grader Emma Bourbeau is a library regular. She comes in three times a week, checking out 15 books at a time. It shows too, as she’s reading at an 8th-grade level.
"I have a lot of friends who are smart but don’t come to the library," said Bourbeau.
The money will be used to make presentations and visits to schools to encourage kids to come to the library. Also, they hope to draw attention to their programming like homework labs, book club, chess club, craft classes, and gaming clubs.
"We have digital needs now which has replaced some needs for books. We have Google, we have databases they can look at. But what is important to us, it's getting children in and together to learn new things,” said Irvin.