NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- The Newark Public Library and Newark Public Schools are teaming up to promote the importance of lifelong learning during National Library Card Sign-Up Month.
One by one, excited third graders lined up to receive library cards. For many, it's their first one.
"Now, I can go to libraries and get books so I can improve my grades," one boy said.
"I never knew what could be the possibilities when you got a library card," one girl said.
The students were some of 30 from Elliott Street School that received cards as part of a joint initiative between the library and the school district, CBSN New York's Kiran Dhillon reports.
Library officials said this was a way to make cards more easily accessible to students.
Soon, every public school student and teacher in the district -- 45,000 in total -- will get library cards.
The objective of the program is to foster a love for learning and reading.
According to the city, Newark places in the bottom 6% of all New Jersey school districts when it comes to literacy. The gap leads to lifelong economic and social consequences. That's why the partnership is specifically targetting third graders like the ones at Elliott Street School.
As a part of the initiative, every third grader in the district will take a field trip to area libraries by the end of the school year. The goal is to get the students familiarized with all the resources the library has for them.
Teachers applaud the program, saying the impact a library can have on a child's life is astronomical.
"They can use the computer, they can watch videos, they can read books, and a lot of our students don't always know that," one teacher said.
The students are already discovering the magic of the written word.
"We can see new books that you always wanted and new books that you read before, but if you lost it and you want to read it again, it might be here," one young girl said.
"Some books are, like, funny. Some books are creative. Some books are fiction. Some books are nonfiction. I love how books are like that," one young boy said.
The students say they'll be back to the library with their new cards soon.
As for the rest of Newark students, they should have their cards in the next few weeks.
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