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.
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
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.
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?