As schools begin winter break, libraries expand access to Iowa City Community students

New AIM cards let any student check out items with no late fees

Kyle Johnson, 8, plays a game on an interactive touch table at the Iowa City Public Library in Iowa City on Tuesday, Sep
Kyle Johnson, 8, plays a game on an interactive touch table at the Iowa City Public Library in Iowa City on Tuesday, Sep. 5, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

As schools throughout the Corridor break for the holidays, several public libraries in Johnson County are making it easier for students to access their materials in print and online.

Libraries in Iowa City, Coralville and North Liberty launched an initiative last week allowing all students in the Iowa City Community School District to check out up to three items and be exempted from fines and late fees.

Iowa City schools are closed for winter break from Dec. 23 to Jan. 3.

The school district is issuing the fine-free library cards, called Access to Information and Materials — or AIM — cards, according to a message sent to families last week.

Students will be able to check out books, audiobooks, magazines and other materials using the cards, according to a news release from the Iowa City Public Library.

“Children should have barrier-free access to public libraries,” Children’s Services Coordinator Angela Pilkington said in the release. “With this card, students will be able to walk into any public library serving the Iowa City Community School District and check out materials they want without having to prove their address, or permission from a parent or a guardian. This card will give them access to materials they want and need.”

The Iowa City Community district covers a broad swath of Johnson County, and the three libraries’ partnership should simplify access for students, the release noted.

In Linn County, fines and fees also are being done away with at public libraries in Cedar Rapids, Marion and Hiawatha — for all patrons — next year. The libraries’ boards voted earlier this month to phase out the fines, and the new policy is scheduled to take effect in July.

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