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New York public libraries announce initiative to connect schools citywide to millions of books
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, right, speaks while New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley looks on at a news conference in New York. AP Photo/Seth Wenig.

NEW YORK, NY.- Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, New York Public Library President Tony Marx, Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda E. Johnson, Queens Library President and CEO Thomas W. Galante and Citi Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit today announced the expansion of MyLibraryNYC, an initiative that connects New York City public schools with the millions of books and other learning materials available through the public libraries. MyLibraryNYC supplements the materials available in public school libraries and will provide access to the more than 17 million books and other items that are a part of the New York, Brooklyn and Queens Public Library catalogs to up to 250,000 students in 400 public schools this year and 1.1 million students by 2015. The program is made possible with $5 million in funding from Citi. The Mayor, Chancellor, public library leaders and Mr. Pandit made the announcement at the 50th Street School Campus in Manhattan, which houses five high schools, and were joined by School Librarian Adelena Kavanagh and students.

“Libraries are an indispensable asset to our students and the expansion of MyLibraryNYC will encourage reading and promote learning both inside and outside the classroom,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This program is a great example of the public and private sectors coming together to invest in our children and city’s future. I want thank our three great public library systems and Citi for their help in providing our children with the resources they need to thrive.”

“Since its launch last year, MyLibraryNYC has been celebrated by both teachers and students, and we are thrilled that even more schools in all five boroughs will have the opportunity to participate,” said Chancellor Walcott. “By expanding the volumes of our school libraries to include the collections of three of the largest public library systems in the country, we are increasing the opportunities for our students to meet the higher bar of the Common Core standards and graduate ready for college and careers.”

“The city’s public school students – the future of this great city – deserve every opportunity to succeed, and to do so need access to critical information and stores of knowledge necessary to further their educations,” said New York Public Library President Anthony W. Marx. “I am proud that the New York Public Library joined forces with the New York City Department of Education, Citi and our fellow library systems in Brooklyn and Queens to break down bureaucratic walls and do just that - offer students and teachers unprecedented access to key materials they so desperately need. The Library has long been a leading provider of free education in New York City, and I am thrilled that we are able to expand that role with this innovative program, which is sure to set an example for the rest of the country.”

“Brooklyn Public Library is committed to promoting early literacy, fostering a love of learning and inspiring students to express their creativity,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “With MyLibraryNYC, we will work with the New York Public Library, Queens Library and the New York City Department of Education to ensure that teachers and students have the support and materials they need. This first-of-its-kind partnership will open new worlds of information to young New Yorkers, sparking their imaginations and helping them achieve their educational goals.”

“Queens Library is an important part of the educational infrastructure,” said Thomas W. Galante, Queens Library President and CEO. “We are gratified to be able to enrich our City’s students’ lives by leveraging our extensive collections. We thank Citi for their support in this project.”

“Citi has a long history of supporting education in New York and the U.S., from promoting financial literacy to helping families save for college to financing the construction of schools. We know the success, not just of our company, but of the communities we serve, depends on how well we as a society educate the next generation,” said Citi CEO Vikram Pandit. “This innovative public-private partnership brings together the leading global bank, the nation’s largest educational system and one of the world’s largest public library systems, and leverages their resources to help New York City’s public school students learn and thrive. Citi is proud to play a role in making it happen.”

"The city’s three public library systems – New York, Brooklyn, and Queens Borough – are showing the way forward with this exciting, innovative program,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Not only has MyLibraryNYC already achieved terrific results in increasing reading among our public school children – it’s doing so in an extremely cost-effective manner. I want to thank Chancellor Walcott for joining with the Library in forging this new model, and Vikram Pandit and Citi for their investment to help get it off the ground.”

“Today’s announcement of the citywide expansion of the MyLibraryNYC program is wonderful news for New York City school children,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “Through this wonderful program 250,000 school kids will have access to more than 17 million books. I commend Mayor Bloomberg, the New York Public Library, and the Brooklyn Public Library for enabling this expansion of this program and making it easier for kids to read and take out books from the library.”

"Expanding MyLibraryNYC to 400 schools further integrates our City’s three amazing library systems with our public schools, giving teachers and students more of the tools they need to succeed at no cost to the schools,” said New York State Senator Thomas K. Duane. “This efficient, innovative and collaborative use of resources will aid teachers’ course development and knock down students’ barriers to entry into the library system, encouraging reading in both print and digital platforms. I applaud Mayor Bloomberg, the Department of Education, the Queens, Brooklyn and New York Public Libraries, and Citi for making this program a reality.”

Through MyLibraryNYC, students and teachers will have access to an online catalog developed by BiblioCommons, where they can browse the collections of the three public libraries and arrange to borrow books and other materials. Each student in one of the 400 participating schools will receive a new library card, and teachers may order up to 100 books – or class sets – as part of lesson plans. Teachers may also use online social tools to collaborate with their peers, share ideas and post their own recommended book lists. The program is made possible with $5 million in funding from Citi, which provided for the development of the online searchable catalog and interactive tools.

The MyLibraryNYC pilot first launched last year in a partnership between 86 schools and the New York Public Library system, under the leadership of its President, Anthony Marx. Surveys conducted after the pilot showed that nearly 90 percent of participating teachers said the program better equipped them to teach, and that students in the pilot were three times more likely to check out a book from their public library than those in non-participating schools. This year’s expansion includes the Brooklyn and Queens Public Libraries, providing for services in each of the five boroughs. The program will grow to cover all public schools – and 1.1 million students – by the year 2015.

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