Sixty Ways to Use Your Library Card 2013

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Library Card Sign-up Month is a celebration held at the beginning of the new school year during which librarians across the country remind parents and caregivers that a library card is the most important school supply of all.

Visit your local library with your children and teens today and sign up for a library card!

A library card is a key resource in achieving academic success, and the library is the perfect place to spend quality family time together.

Check out these great ways to use your library card and library.

  1. Download an e-book.  Your library is where you can get e-books and other digital content. Download now – ask your librarian how!
    Photo: Reading Flash Mob in Old Town area during National Library Week, Poudre River (Colo.) Public Library District.

  2. Not sure how to download an e-book on your new device? A librarian can show you how. Take a workshop on how to use your e-reader or other gadgets.
    Photo:Elizabeth Hough, Hedberg Public Library, Janesville, Wis.

  3. Use a computer to finish a school project. Over 62 percent of library outlets report they are the only provider of free public computer and Internet access in their communities.
    Photo: Bookmobile patron Georgina Gaytan and her daughter Paulina use computers. El Paso (Texas) Public Library.

  4. Use free Wi-Fi. Almost 91 percent of public library outlets offer wireless Internet access.
    Photo: Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, Ga.

  5. Learn the secrets of editing digital photos in a Photoshop class. More than 90 percent of public libraries now offer formal or informal technology training.
    Photo: Computer class at  Hedberg Public Library, Janesville, Wis., by Elizabeth Hough.

  6. Learn check mate: attend a library game night.
    Photo: Inside the gaming tent at AADL's Videogame Night at Top of the Park. Ann Arbor District Library, Mich.

  7. Take the kids to a free movie or pick up a DVD to watch together at home... or get a movie for free from your library's website.
    Photo: Movie Under the Stars, West Chicago (Ill.)Public Library District.

  8. Attend a family crafts workshop.
    Photo: Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System.

  9. Check out a pass to a city museum.

  10. Save money while spending quality time: plan a family afternoon at place that’s free - the library!

  11. Attend preschool story hour with your child.
    Photo:Please Storytime at Virginia Beach (Va.) Public Library.

  12. Librarians are early literacy experts...
    Photo: iPad mounted in the Children's Library, Darien (Conn.) Public Library by Gretchen Caserotti.

  13. ...that can put your child on the path to becoming a baby Einstein. 
    Photo: Big Check for a Little Einstein, Pi Day, Princeton (N.J) Public Library.

  14. Launch your future: Get free assistance with job searches, resume writing and interviewing tips...
    Photo: Patrons using computers at Newport News (Va.) Public Library System.

  15. ...or become an entrepreneur. Learn how to write a business plan
    Photo: Adult reading in the library, Virginia Beach (Va.) Public Library.

  16. Get help with homework.
    Photo: New Jersey Library Association.

  17. Research your term paper.

  18. Explore new opportunities and research technical schools, community colleges and universities.

  19. Get ready for the SAT with online test-prep services. 

  20. Learn how to manage your money or pay for college at a free library seminar.
    Photo: University of San Francisco Graduation Commencement May 2010 by Shawn Calhoun.

  21. Work with your neighbors to find common ground about issues that are important to your community.
    Photo: Bullying forum at Birmingham (Ala.) Public Library by Cristin Foster, David Mathews Center for Civic Life.

  22. Take citizenship classes.
    Photo: Francisco and Ingrid Maldonado, new U.S. citizens, Bentonville (Ark.) Public Library.

  23. Learn to distinguish fact from fiction in news coverage.
    Photo: Iowa participants in the 2012 News Know-how program, Drake Community Library, Grinnell, Iowa.

  24. Spend an hour with a “living book”; see if your library has a list of local experts who can share their knowledge on different subjects - like knitting, taxes, or training for a triathalon - or simply share a bit about themselves.
    Photo: Annie Wyndham Solomon (Wynsolo Photography), Santa Monica (Calif.) Public Library.

  25. Book a meeting room for your club or community organization.
    Photo: Marshall  (Wis.) Community Library.
  26. Get involved – join your library’s Friends group or teen advisory board.
    Photo:Marshall  (Wis.) Community Library.

  27. Check out your favorite graphic novel.
    Photo: Boy’s Read Jon Sczieska’s wonderful books at Loudoun County (Va.) Public Library by Linda Holtslander.

  28. Trek to another planet in a Sci-Fi novel.
    Photo: Marshall  (Wis.) Community Library.

  29. Talk mysteries with people who like mysteries, too, at a library book club.
    Photo: By Jamie Edwards. The Book Club for Adults is one of seven book clubs offered at York County (S.C.) Libraries .

  30. Design and print a robot with a 3D printer...
    Photo: Krish Praseeth with 3D printed robot of his own design, Sunnyvale (Calif.) Public Library

  31. ...or build a real robot. Makerspaces are popping up in libraries around the country.
    Photo: Maker Day at Chattanooga (Tenn.) Public Library.

  32. Get growing! Check out seeds to plant in your backyard or community garden.
    Photo: Pima County (Ariz.) Public Library.

  33. Find shelter, free Wi-Fi and useful information after a storm.
    Photo: Patrons at Princeton (N.J) Public Library after Superstorm Sandy.

  34. Use free online tools to research your family tree.
    Photo: Laura Johnson, Green County (Ky.) Public Library.

  35. Find the best resources on how to preserve that photo of your great grandmother.
    Photo: Preservation Week @ your library presentation at Iowa State University's Park Library.

  36. Hear a local author reading his/her latest novel.
    Photo: Author Patricia McCormick at Loudoun County (Va.) Public Library, by Linda Holtslander.

  37. .…then research WWII espionage...

  38. .…then find a quiet spot to plug in your laptop and begin your own novel.
    Photo: Patron using a laptop at Woodford County (Ky.) Library.

  39. Use a library computer to apply for a job online or check out materials to help study for a certification exam. 92.2 percent of libraries offer access to job databases and other online job resources.
    Photo: Laura Johnson,Green County (Ky.) Public Library.

  40. Learn a new language with books or online language-learning software.

  41. Take a fitness class.
    Photo: Ciara Campbell, age 9, concentrates on maintaining her balance while doing the tree pose at Grissom Library's Yoga for Kids program on July 22. Newport News (Va.) Public Library System.

  42. Empower yourself. Check out a book on auto repair or learn how to change a flat tire.
    Photo: Instructor Lori Johnson shows Elizabeth Insley how to read a tire pressure gauge during the “Ladies, Start Your Engines” workshop on April 5, 2008, at Casey Chevrolet in Newport News. The workshop was co-sponsored by the Newport News Public Library System and Casey Chevrolet as part of the Library System’s yearlong series of how-to workshops.Newport News (Va.) Public Library.

  43. Borrow or download an audio book for your next road trip or commute.
    Photo: Inside the giant [digital] bookmobile at Shawnee Mall by Pioneer Library System, Okla.

  44. Find a new hobby.
    Photo:New Hampshire woodworker Stephen Carey (right) explained his techniques for transforming pieces of wood into fine craftsmanship at his program, “My Grandfather’s Lathe,” at the Nashua Public Library in February 2013. (photo by Carol Eyman).

  45. Enjoy a concert.
    Photo:  Battle of the Bands  at  Loudoun  County (Va.) Public Library’s A.V. Symington Teen Center,  long live Rock and Roll!

  46. Go back in time: use databases or microfiche to access early newspapers or rent a “classic” movie, like “Back to the Future.”

  47. Try on a new hat at a library fundraiser.
    Photo: "Hats Off To Southfield" fundraiser featuring the hats of milliner Luke Song, creator of the famous Aretha Franklin hat from President Obama's first inauguration. Southfield (Mich.) Public Library.

  48. …or learn to make your own hat.
    Photo: Wanda Rogers sews a ribbon into place at the Sunday’s Best Hat Decorating Workshop on April 28 at Grissom Library by Newport News (Va.) Public Library.

  49. Enroll your child in a summer reading program.
    Photo: End of summer reading celebration at Cobb County (Ga.) Public Library System.

  50. Build your young reader’s self esteem by letting him read to a dog at the library.
    Photo:Linda Holtslander, Loudoun County (Va.) Public Library.

  51. Check out books in the bookmobile.
    Photo: Photo: Homer Township Public Library, Homer Glen, Ill.

  52. Sit in the park and let books come to you!
    Photo: Books on Bikes program at Seattle Public Library.

  53. Take a cooking class.
    Photo: Teen cooking class at Belmont Library, San Mateo County (Calif.) Library.

  54. Learn new knitting techniques and get new patterns.

  55. Give new gadgets a try at a tech petting zoo
    Photo: Malaika Yemanje tests out an iPad at the Tech Zoo presented by Library of Virginia. The Tech Zoo featured different types of eReaders and tablets for participants to try at Tech It Out 2 on April 21 at Main Street Library. Newport News (Va.) Public Library System.

  56. or check out a pass to a real zoo.
    Photo: Brookfield Zoo by Michael Kappel.

  57. Check out a fishing pole,
    Photo: Koa's first fish by Barron Fujimoto.

  58. or snowshoes...
    Photo:Snow shoeing by thebmag.

  59. ...or a chimney brush.
    Photo: Chimney sweep's brush by keepps.

  60. Find a quiet spot, curl up with a good book and enjoy.
    Photo:Linda Holtslander, Loudoun County (Va.) Public Library.