Happy September, readers!
This is a very special month for you. Why?
September is Library Card Sign-Up Month!
Do you already have a library card? I certainly hope so!
If you don’t, what are you waiting for? A library card is one of the most valuable items you can possess because it allows you to unlock and access millions upon millions of books. All of that information readily available at your fingertips. And best of all, it’s 100% FREE!
For adults, the requirements for getting a library card are generally the same no matter where you live. You must be a local resident of the city or county to apply for a card. Some libraries will let you apply for their card if you live in neighboring counties. You will need to submit a photo ID the first time you check out materials. Adults who are 18 and older can normally request their card online.
For children, the requirements may vary a bit. General requirements are that your child must be at least six years old and able to sign their own name. They cannot register for a card online, but must appear at a branch with their parent or guardian. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to ensure all materials are returned on time and fees are paid.
A library card is the most important back to school supply you will ever own. Here are four reasons why your child should own their own library card:
1. Encourage Reading!
There is no better way to encourage reading than with a library card. After your child registers for their card, immediately go explore all parts of the library — children’s corner, teen’s, computer lab, resources, etc. There are literally millions of books available for your child so they can read about anything they want. They can even download books on to their tablets. And if your library doesn’t carry a particular title, they can request it from another branch.
Start off with one book you can share together. Schedule a bi-weekly (or weekly) trip to the library for your whole family. Then, set a special time at home for family reading. You can spend a few days reading separately, but make time to read together.
Be sure to read to your child, too. Many families stop reading to their children once they enter first grade. But when you read aloud to your child, you teach them fluency, speech, volume, and speed. It’s an incredible benefit.
2. Teach Responsibility!
A library card is both a responsibility and a privilege. After registering for their first card, be sure you or the librarian review how the card works — checking out materials for a few weeks and bringing them back. Otherwise, you have to pay fines.
Help your child understand this by starting slow. Let him pick out his first book. When you get home, designate a special spot for library books — like a bookshelf or a basket. Mark on the calendar when the book needs to be returned. For first time users, make sure they return the first book before they can take out another one. And if the book is late, help him look in his piggy bank for the change to pay the fine.
3. Meet New Friends!
Libraries are full of free programming and events for card holders of all ages. Whether your child is first grade or high school, there are plenty of things to do. Ask your local librarian for the list of monthly activities. Sign up for something! You’ll meet new people and might even learn something new.
4. Experience a New Environment!
A library is truly a wondrous place. But, like any special place, it comes with its own set of rules. It is important that you teach your child how to understand and respect the new environment. Before your first visit, review the proper way to act in a library — quite voices, walking feet.
Remind your child that people are reading and studying and it’s not nice to disturb them. If your child has difficulty with the new rules, limit their privileges. Explain that she will only be able to check out a book when she learns how to behave. This way, there’s a reward at stake.
So what are you waiting for? Go register for your library card today!