The Benefits of a Library Card: It’s Not Just for Checking Out Books

A gradient purple to yellow background, in yellow text is "September is Library Card Sign-up Month." In purple writing is "Let your imagination sing at the library." There is a photo in bottom right corner of Cara Mentzel and Idina Menzel with an animated mouse on left side holding a library card.

When I was a little kid my dad took me to the library. It was part of our Saturday routine. We would pile in the car and drive to the local branch  in our community. On the way he would share  his childhood story about his inability to enter  the main public library  in his hometown due to segregation. He wanted me to understand  the importance of accessing  the library.  And the key to that access was having a library card.

a gradient purple to yellow background. An animated mouse in a white shirt and pink skirt holding a library card. On left side in yellow text is "September is Library Card Sign-up Month."

As I got older and moved from home, every city I lived in I  had a library card . Even after I went blind I still kept a library card and frequently utilized my local branch. September is National Library Card Sign Up Month. Do you have a library card? Do you  know the benefits of one? It’s not just for checking out books. The library has many other services and resources and here are the benefits.

1. Learn new job and computer skills.

Do you need help looking for a job? OR what about learning a new computer skill? Libraries offer broad electronic resources for students, small business owners, job seekers, hobbyists, and lifelong learners. Whether you’re looking for free software to pick up a new language, resume tutorials, or patent records for a new invention, the library has free access to awesome online databases and classes.

2. Help your kids do better in school

As I shared, my dad took me to the library on a regular basis. As a kid I had my own personal library card with my name on it. I was not only able to checkout books for pleasure but also for school. When I had to do research or term papers the library was the first place I went. Libraries expose children to reading at a very early age. Many libraries have children Storytime  and other  fun and age-appropriate activities.

3. Explore your family tree

Empish with her family on vacation

I remember  a few years back I was on a mission to learn more about my family. I had  sent off for my DNA info through Ancestry.com and worked on building my online family tree account. As I did  this exploration, I discovered that my local library had genealogy resources.  I was able to take a family tree class for African Americans  and access library digital databases. But none of that would have happened without my library card.

4. Check out passes for free admission to State Parks, museums  and the zoo

These passes are typically first come first serve. Just ask the librarian at the circulation desk for more details.

5. Access books, eBooks, movies and music

Yes, of course, we all know in order to checkout a book you gotta have a library card. But did you know you can also checkout other  materials like movies and music? I used to physically checkout music all the time. Now since I discovered the Hoopla app  I do it from the comfort of my home. On this app  you sign up with your library card and  it gives you instant access to eBooks, films, audiobooks and music. Another library app is Overdrive/Libby but some materials, depending on demand, are not instant download.

More Persuasive arguments

If these 5 benefits didn’t move you to get a library card maybe this compelling point will stir you to action. According to the American Library Association, libraries are among our country’s most democratic institutions, promoting free and open access to information for everyone. Registering for a library card is one of the easiest ways to support this mission, since libraries use their sign-up stats to prove their value to local policymakers and advocate for much-needed funding. When you sign up for a library card, you’re helping demonstrate that today’s libraries are more important than ever.

Empish Writing a Check

And one of my most persuasive arguments  is you are paying for it. So, why not fully access your library?  Many community libraries  are able to function and provide their services and resources because  we are taxpayers.

If you don’t have a library card, hopefully my post has gently pushed you to do it. Reading and books  are my jam. Can’t you tell?  If you have a card already,  share with me  your benefits? Are they different than the ones I shared?

4 thoughts on “The Benefits of a Library Card: It’s Not Just for Checking Out Books

  1. I too am a lifelong library card owner. Growing up without television or siblings, books were my companions. I visit libraries wherever I travel. In Burlington,Vt. an area was reserved for gardening tools to borrow. Las Vegas had an
    escalator access to floors similar to a department store and in a small town in Ms. you could borrow art works to display in your home. I retired from my local library system – the best job ever!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a great thing to do. I never thought of visiting libraries while traveling. That is so cool. The closest I’ve come is visiting the Library of Congress and the National Library for the Blind in Washington, DC.

      Like

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