September is National Library Card Sign Up Month! According to ALA (the American Libary Association) this year, Disney’s the Incredibles are Library Card Sign-up Month honorary chairs, helping to promote the value of a library card and bring attention to the many ways libraries and librarians transform lives and communities through education. Today’s Libraries offer so much more than books.
- In addition to print books, libraries offer access to audio and digital books as well as book kits which contain books and related activities for parents to use with their children.
- DVDs and CDs
- Access to online databases (LOC Primary Source Sets is a great example.)
- Computers and Internet access
- Interlibrary loan- materials from other libraries shipped to your library for check out
- Programs for children and adults which include educational offerings, author activities/events, book clubs, crafts, STEM activities, and much more. (PPL Education is a great example.)
- Children’s spaces with interactives like built-in play spaces, puppet theaters, computers, iPads, and more. (Learn about 5 of the Coolest Children’s Libraries in the U.S. here.)
- Makerspaces (which contain 3d printers, Virtual Reality systems, Makey Makey, robots, etc.) and STEM/ STEAM kits. (See the Newport Public Library Maker Lab page as an example of what can be done.)
- Special lending libraries for a variety of items like tools, instruments, assistive technology devices, seeds, wifi hotspots, e-readers, kitchen tools, art, toys, exercise equipment, and more. (Houston Public Library’s Mobile Hotspots is a great example.)
- Teacher kits that include books, materials, and activities for a variety of topics
- Museum passes
- Digital media labs
- Meeting space
- A librarian that can help you find any information that you need!
As you can see, today’s libraries are no longer just a quiet place to read and study (although they do still maintain spaces that are also meant for that). Help to promote libraries to your students and other teachers by encouraging them to visit their local library and signup for a library card.
Students can find a quiet place to do homework while accessing free wifi as well as taking advantage of the free online databases and reference books. Those that are in need of reading practice can join a book club and meet new people interested in the same type of books. Up and coming makers can visit a maker space and brush up on coding, 3D print something they design, produce a video or podcast, and meet other makers. If they have younger siblings, there is always something going on in the children’s room for them from crafts to read-alouds to interactive activities. Special programs take place throughout the week and on weekends.
Libraries have special library cards for teachers. A teacher card allows teachers to check out more than the normal amount of books as well as allowing them more time to return the books. Book kits with ready-made activities for students are also available. Don’t forget about the greatest resource of all – librarians who know all about the newest book releases and how to find up to date information on any subject! You can even bring your whole class for a visit to the Altadeena Public Library!
Some libraries are offering special programs during September. Lisle Library District patrons in Illinois can present their library cards and receive discounts and promotions from local businesses and organizations. The Selbyville Public Library in Delaware is offering a fine-free card to children ages 5 and younger. The New Providence Memorial Library in New Jersey is having giveaways and offering free replacement library cards to those that haven’t used their cards in a while. The Literacy Coalition of Merced County, Merced County Office of Education, and the Merced County Library in California are teaming up to get a library card into the hands of every Head Start student.
This September contact your local library and check out what they are offering. There is something there for everyone!