A library card isn’t simply a device that gives a person access to thousands of books, periodicals and professional journals. It’s a gateway to an entire network of information. People who have library cards can frequent the library, check out books, DVDs, music, use the internet on public computers and even enjoy public workshops, seminars and programs. Given the fact that September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month, it comes as no surprise that libraries across the country have been creatively promoting the importance of having a library card on hand.
According to a Sept. 24 release from the American Library Association, the theme this year was to remind parents that a library card is the single most important school supply their child can have in their backpack this school year. The promotional month perfectly coincides with the back-to-school season, and helps to remind parents of all the resources available at the library that will help their students throughout the entire school year. Whether a student needs a book in order to research a class project, or they are looking for a safe place to browse the Internet after school, the library is there to meet their needs. However, a library card is required for many of these opportunities.
Of course, simply sending an e-mail reminder to parents in the community about the importance of library cards is not enough. This means that libraries from state to state had to get creative in promoting this important cause. One library in Darien, Illinois encouraged students to sign up for their first library card, and presented them with a child-sized card, a small book bag and a special souvenir photograph that they can keep in their scrapbook for years to come. The library system in Lansing, Michigan took to social media to spread awareness about library cards. The Capital Area District Libraries created a Twitter campaign called #ShowYourCard, where library patrons could show their card at various local businesses in order to earn promotional discounts and giveaway items. Patrons were then encouraged to talk about their experiences throughout town on their different social media accounts.
While National Library Card Sign-Up month is quickly coming to end, that doesn’t mean the importance of the cause has to fade away. The American Library Association has listed digital files and downloadable tools on its Library Card Sign-Up Month website that are available for libraries to use throughout the year. While thousands of libraries team up and participate in this nationwide, month-long event, there is still time for more libraries and patrons to get involved. The goal of this campaign is to not only get people to sign up for library cards, but also to make them aware of all that their public libraries have to offer. September presents the perfect opportunity for every library to showcase itself to the community, and to help students use the available resources in the best way possible during the new school year.