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Library campaign targets youth

Targeting youth between the ages of 9 and 12, the Fargo Public Library kicked off its "Where the Fun Is Free" campaign Tuesday. The goal of the promotion is to encourage 3,000 students to apply for a library card. Students who turn in a completed...

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Targeting youth between the ages of 9 and 12, the Fargo Public Library kicked off its "Where the Fun Is Free" campaign Tuesday.

The goal of the promotion is to encourage 3,000 students to apply for a library card.

Students who turn in a completed application to the main library, its south branch or the Bookmobile will receive a library card and a package of freebies from local sponsors. They also become eligible to win a bike or computer software.

The promotion is open to students of any age in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo.

Once they have a public library card, youth can check out more than books and magazines. They also have access to DVDs, CDs, comic books, video games and computer games.

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Library Director Charles Pace said he hopes these items encourage preteens to visit the library and check out its more traditional offerings. While studies show young elementary students visit public libraries often, that commitment often falls by the time students start fourth-grade, he said.

"We have a lot of cool stuff here at the library," Pace said. "But our main goal is to help students become lifelong readers and learners."

Cindy Bleier, director of Fargo Public Schools' instructional resources, said public libraries play an important role in lifelong education.

Public libraries offer technology to students who may not have access at home, she said. They also are places where families can demonstrate their commitment to reading.

"If a child sees a parent checking things out, it's powerful," she said.

Fargo elementary school teachers and librarians helped distribute library card applications to their students Tuesday.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Erin Hemme Froslie at (701) 241-5534

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