BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)– If you have a child heading back to school this month, the Northwest Florida Regional Library system has free programs to help your child achieve success in the academic year. 

Getting a library card is free and getting one unlocks access to thousands of books, audiobooks, and databases.

“Getting a library card is free for all Bay, Gulf, and Liberty county residents, all you have to do is show proof of residence,” said Library Marketing Director, Sarah Burris.

You can also download the Libby App here. The app allows all library cardholders to check out books and audiobooks digitally with no holds! 

Comics Plus, is another program that allows you to digitally check out a large archive of comics.

Burris said children should be encouraged to read at least 15 minutes a day to ensure literacy and future success.

For parents looking to get their kids instilled with a love for reading, the Bay County Library will begin to offer a pre-school story time geared for ages three to six. It takes place every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. from Sept. 8th to Nov. 17th.

The Bay County Public library is located at 898 W. 11th St. in Panama City.

The library will also be offering a second Saturday story time option for families at 10 a.m. starting on Sept. 10th and lasting through Nov. 10th.

“Due to Hurricane Michael and the pandemic, literacy rates in Bay County and around the nation have been lower, so exposing children to reading at young children is important,” Burris said.

For the teens interested in improving their writing and learning more about storytelling, there is a youth writing group class geared for ages 8 to 12. Classes will take place on Sept. 7th, Oct. 5th, and Nov. 2nd at 4 p.m. The class is free, but you have to register to participate. You can do so by calling 850-522-2118.

“A library card is the best back-to-school necessity,” said Burris.