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Earn & Learn Re-Engages Young Library Users

May 23, 2013

Earn and LearnBeginning with the June 3 kickoff of The Indianapolis Public Library's Summer Reading Program and continuing through 2014, children under the age of 18 with library card debt of five dollars or more can become borrowers in good standing through the Library's "Earn and Learn" initiative.

The program allows those whose outstanding fees prevent them from borrowing library materials to pay down their debt through reading and to become regular library users again. "Earn and Learn" was introduced as an eight-week pilot project during the Library's 2012 Summer Reading Program and resulted in 1,602 children reducing or eliminating over $54,000 in debt.

Incorporating the best practices from that pilot into an expanded, fully-developed program will support a Library priority under its strategic plan to further childhood literacy and provide positive reinforcement for children to read more books.

"Earn and Learn represents a different approach, placing the Library in the role of supporter and partner in helping children achieve success," said Jackie Nytes, Library CEO. "Encouraging children to read is a long-term winning strategy, not only for the child, but for the community as a whole."

Children with library debt may participate as early as six years old. When registering for "Earn and Learn," young ones will receive a points card with 5-point numbered intervals. When participants reach four milestones on their points card (150, 300, 450 and 600), their debts will be reduced by respective percentages of 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%. Check out is limited to 10 items at a time, including CDs and audiobooks. DVDs cannot be checked out in this program. These conditions apply until a child completes the full one-year enrollment period.

An important part of the initiative involves providing resources for youth and families when they enroll to help them record and keep up with due dates, access account information, use email advance alerts, and keep borrowed items organized in the home.

In addition to "Earn and Learn," the Indy Library has implemented new policies for other patrons that reduce fines for the late return of juvenile and teen materials from $.25 to $.15 per day. Limits for DVDs loaned on juvenile borrower cards have been reduced from 12 to six items. The fee to replace a Library card has been reduced from $5 to $3. And the loan limit on the number of items checked out on a Library card at a given time has been increased from 50 to 75.

More information on the Library's loan and circulation policies can be found at