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Karen's Plan: Libraries And Education - Enhancing Knowledge And Opportunities For All

 

As a candidate for New Castle County Executive and the current President of New Castle County Council, I have championed libraries and education, recognizing their vital role in community growth. During my tenure, I have consistently supported and implemented innovative programs that enhance these essential services. Our libraries have become dynamic community hubs, offering makerspaces, STEM programs, digital literacy initiatives, and early childhood education support. By fostering partnerships with local schools and providing valuable resources for teachers and students, we have created seamless connections between classroom learning and library resources. My commitment is exemplified by the establishment of the new Appoquinimink Library and ongoing projects like the Newark Free Library. As County Executive, I will continue to prioritize and invest in libraries and education, ensuring that knowledge and opportunities remain accessible to all residents, making New Castle County a thriving place to live and learn.

Libraries and Education: Enhancing Knowledge and Opportunities for All

As a candidate for New Castle County Executive and the President of New Castle County Council for the past eight years, I have dedicated myself to supporting and enhancing libraries and education in our community. My tenure has been marked by a steadfast commitment to advocating for, sponsoring legislation, and voting for numerous new and innovative initiatives that have significantly improved these critical areas. Experience matters, and my experience has driven tangible results for our residents.

Libraries: Community Hubs of Innovation and Learning

New Castle County libraries are more than just repositories of books; they are vibrant community hubs that offer a wide range of services and programs designed to foster learning, creativity, and community engagement. Under my tenure, the County Council has prioritized funding for libraries to ensure they remain accessible, well-equipped, and forward-thinking.

Innovative Programs and Services:

Reading in a Bookstore

Makerspaces and STEM Programs

Our libraries feature state-of-the-art makerspaces, providing residents with access to cutting-edge technology, including 3D printers, robotics kits, and coding workshops. These spaces empower individuals of all ages to explore science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

Digital Literacy Initiatives

Recognizing the importance of digital literacy in today's world, we have implemented programs to teach computer skills, internet safety, and the use of various software applications. These initiatives are particularly beneficial for seniors and job seekers looking to enhance their employability.

Early Childhood Education

Our libraries offer programs for young children, such as Storytime, early literacy workshops, and interactive learning activities. These initiatives are designed to support early childhood development and prepare our youngest residents for academic success.

Supporting Schools, Students, and Teachers

Education is a cornerstone of a thriving community, and I have consistently supported initiatives that enhance our schools and provide valuable resources for students and teachers.

Key Initiatives:

Partnerships with Schools

We have fostered strong partnerships between libraries and local schools, creating a seamless connection between classroom learning and library resources. Collaborative programs include homework help sessions, summer reading challenges, and educational workshops.

Teacher Support Programs

Recognizing the vital role teachers play in shaping future generations, we have launched initiatives to support educators, such as professional development workshops, access to teaching resources, and grants for innovative classroom projects.

Student Enrichment Opportunities

Our commitment to students extends beyond the classroom. We have funded extracurricular programs, such as after-school tutoring, college prep courses, and career exploration workshops, to ensure all students have the opportunity to succeed.

Commitment to Libraries and Education

My extensive experience as President of New Castle County Council has enabled me to support, advocate for, and implement these vital initiatives, making a meaningful impact on the quality of education and library services in our community. A prime example of this commitment is my role in advocating for, passing, and then signing legislation Council Resolution 18-187 (click link), which led to the acquisition of the property for the new Appoquinimink Library. The Grand Opening was in April 2022. Our southern New Castle County Library has since become a beacon of community learning and engagement, following our northern Route 9 Library & Innovation Center embodying our dedication to accessibility, innovation, and sustainability.

Additionally, I’m thrilled and strongly support the construction plans for the new Newark Free Library and am celebrating as it moves forward to replace the current building the community outgrew. It’s slated to be completed and open in November 2026. The state has committed $20 million toward the project, with New Castle County contributing a little over $23 million. The Friends of the Newark Free Library will raise an additional $1.25 million through a capital campaign.

Picking a Book
Graduation

Vision for the Future

As County Executive, I will continue to strengthen partnerships with schools, support teachers with professional development and resources, and provide students with enrichment opportunities beyond the classroom. I am committed to ensuring our libraries remain at the forefront of technological advancement and community service. By continuing to invest in libraries and education, we are fostering a brighter future for all residents of New Castle County.

Experience matters, and I am committed to leveraging my experience to make New Castle County the best place to live, learn, and thrive. Together, we can build a community where knowledge and opportunities are accessible to everyone.

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