by Steve Zalusky
As summer slips away, the upcoming school year summons parents to start scrounging once again for school supplies. The most valuable school supply of all, however, and one that doesn’t cost a single penny or even require any shopping, is as close as your local library.
During September, the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country will celebrate Library Card Sign-up Month, encouraging the public to obtain a free library card that will save them money, while reaping rich rewards in academic achievement and lifelong learning.
This September marks the 30th anniversary of Library Card Sign up Month. Since 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month has been held each September to mark the beginning of the school year.
Throughout the school year, public librarians and library staff will assist parents and caregivers with saving hundreds of dollars on educational resources and services for students. From free access to STEAM programs/activities, educational apps, in-person and virtual homework help, technology workshops to the expertise of librarians, a library card is one of the most cost effective back to school supplies available.
A library card provides free access not only to books, but also to eBooks, CDs, DVD and video games, as well as makerspaces that spur creativity and computers that contain valuable research tools such as databases and archives of magazines and newspapers. For those who do not have computer access at home, a library is essential resource.
Libraries across the country are encouraging students to sign up for a new library card, holding events ranging from storytelling to superhero bashes and offering incentives such as tote bags and books to children receiving their first library card. Local governments are even getting into the act, promoting Library Card Sign-up Month by issuing proclamations. And local businesses are even partnering with libraries, offering rewards to those who show their library card.
In addition, libraries are using promotional materials featuring the crimefighting DC Super Heroes, the Teen Titans, who are teaming up with the American Library Association (ALA) to promote the value of a library card as Library Card Sign-up Month Honorary Chairs. As honorary chairs, DC’s Teen Titans will remind parents, caregivers and students that signing up for a library card is the first step towards academic achievement and lifelong learning.
How much can you save by owning a library card? Just look at this handy library value calculator provided by the American Library Association (ALA).
In honor of our 2017 Library Card Sign-up Month Honorary Chairs, DC's Teen Titans, you can also share your library superpower. What special talents, skills, and interests have you developed thanks to the library?
Tell us—or show us with a photo or short video—on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #LibrarySuperpower. Entries can also be posted directly to the I Love Libraries Facebook page. One randomly selected winner will receive a VISA gift card worth $100.00 USD.
Need a prop? Download these printable PDFs: My Library Superpower Speech Bubble (PDF) | My Library Superpower Starburst (PDF) Promotion begins Friday, September 1 at noon CT and ends Thursday, September 22 at noon CT.
Librarians and the general public are encouraged to participate. Join in the fun and tell the world about your #LibrarySuperpower.