Kids and adults are encouraged to sign up for LIBRARY CARDS in September
We just learned that September has been designated as “Be Kind to Writers and Editors Month.” As it turns out, the 9th month also has another literary distinction: Library Card Sign-Up Month.
I cannot remember not having a library card. Library visits were a biweekly ritual in our house. These were the Saturdays I never slept in; I’d stack up my books on the coffee table as soon as I got up, and then dance around, anxiously waiting for my dad to finish his coffee, mow the lawn, pay the bills, or whatever other boring grown-up stuff he “had” to do before we could go to the library.
Too many kids today have never even seen the inside of a library – some for lack of library services in their areas; many others because their parents just don’t view the library as an essential part of any well-rounded education. With the financial situation in its current messy state, libraries are an unfortunate easy target when it comes to funding. As Marilyn Johnson laments in a July 2010 LA Times op-ed piece, “Libraries are an essential service in action, as well as an effective leveler of privilege and avenue of reinvention. As budget cuts affect more facilities, children will be the first to suffer.”
The good news is that the libraries that are still standing are persevering. But they can use our help. One way is to spread the news that September is Library Card Sign-Up Month – a time when the American Library Association and libraries across the country remind parents that the most important school supply of all is a library card.
September was designated as Library Card Sign-Up Month in 1988. Just in time for the Fall pennant race, former MLB All-Star, Baltimore’s Cal Ripken Jr., is this year’s Honorary Chairperson for Library Card Sign-up Month. Many other past honorary chairs and spokespersons also come from the sports world, including:
- NBA Star and Olympic gold medalist, Dwyane Wade
- WNBA Star and Olympic gold medalist, Candace Parker
- author and the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
- quarterback of the 2006 Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger
Comic George Lopez seems to be the only non-athlete spokesperson in recent years.
Besides actually going to the library to sign up for a card and/or check out books, other ways to celebrate Library Card Sign-Up Month include visiting a few key websites:
- Between the Lions. Explore the public library that is part of PBS Kids and home to lion cubs Lionel and Leona and their parents, Cleo and Theo.
- Library of Congress. The Library of Congress website offers a wealth of information about life, history, government, and culture in the United States. Searchable online resources can help you find what you’re looking for, or you can use the site map and index tools to locate specific information.
- Presidential Libraries. From the National Archives, this site has links to 10 Presidential libraries and two Presidential materials projects. Includes items from Presidents George H. W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Herbert Hoover, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman.
- KidsReads. This site promotes quality reading through book reviews, related games, author biographies and interviews, and more. Students can also learn how to set up successful book clubs and find discussion guides for particular books.
If you have a child who doesn’t yet have a library card, take them out to get one this month! If you and your children haven’t been to the library in a while, why not make a point to go this weekend? Even if you don’t have kids, your local library more than likely has all kinds of cool things waiting for you, too! What are you waiting for? Hit the road, Jack – and doncha come back without a library book!
We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.