JOLIET- The Joliet Public Library has partnered with Joliet Public Schools District 86 and Joliet Township High School District 204 to make library cards available to all Joliet area public school students at no extra cost to the household. This initiative was made possible by the passing of House Bill 2096, "Cards for Kids Act" and the local adoption of this legislature by the Joliet Public Library Board of Trustees in August 2020.
"We are grateful for this partnership with the Joliet Public Library," said JTHS Superintendent Dr. Karla Guseman. "Providing library cards at no cost to our students removes a barrier to learning and opens the doors to resources that were not previously accessible and this is especially needed during this time."
While Joliet Public Library services are paid for through property taxes for many Joliet households, Joliet Township and Rockdale residents must pay a fee to obtain a library card. Joliet Township, according to the 2010 census, had a population of 87,398 with 32,617 housing units. Rockdale had 1,931 residents. Nearly all Joliet Township students go to District 86 and 204 schools, and all Rockdale residents feed into District 204.
"Students in the Joliet area deserve access to library services," said Joliet Public Library's Executive Director, Megan Millen. "We are excited to provide another opportunity for Joliet families to use the library and our many resources."
In the summer of 2019, the library introduced a new pricing system for purchasing non-resident library cards. Prior to 2019, the flat fee for a non-resident card was $115; however, Library officials and staff regularly witnessed families and residents being turned away without a library card because of the formula used. The sliding scale system now allows the large population of Joliet Township and Rockdale residents, who do not live within a boundary that pays a public library tax, the option to purchase a non-resident library card based on their home's property value, or yearly rent, just as all City of Joliet residents do.
"Universal library service is essential," said Joliet Public Library's Deputy Director Catherine Y. Adamowski. "Every Joliet resident and every Joliet area student deserves access to public library service and to have that service priced according to their means."
The sliding scale method immediately had a positive impact on prospective patrons, and having Joliet area students receive cards at no cost removes yet another barrier to library services.
"Thank you to the Joliet Public Library for the many years of determination and hard work to make this dream a reality," said Joliet Public Schools District 86 Superintendent Dr. Theresa Rouse. "I know our students will be thrilled to be able to have their own personal library card."
For families of District 86 and District 204 students, visit https://www.jolietlibrary.org/en/cards-for-kids and fill out an application to sign up for a student library card. Students will receive their new cards in the mail. September is also Library Card Sign-Up month, so now is the perfect time!
The Joliet Public Library is a resource for the Joliet community to read, explore, ask and discover. For more information, visit https://jolietlibrary.org/ or call 815-740-2660. Library hours are Monday–Thursday from 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., and Friday–Saturday from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.