Does your child not yet have a library card? September is the perfect time to get one because it's library card sign-up month!
This is the 30th anniversary of library card sign-up month, which was started by then-Secretary of Education William Bennett to mark the beginning of the school year and remind families that signing up for a library card is the first step towards academic achievement and lifelong learning.
I get that -- my second-grader is a reading machine. She always has a book in her hand.
This book-loving mama is thrilled, so much so that I recently let her get her own library card. She is so proud to use it!
On the fence about getting your child their own card? Here are five reasons you should let them proudly carry their own library card:
1. A library expands your child’s horizons.
Visiting a library is a risk-free way to explore the world through books, movies, music, and more. Getting your child a library card allows children to choose their own materials, which helps them find series and topics that interest them. Plus a library offers something you can’t find anywhere else -- a librarian! Librarians are valuable resources when it comes to finding the perfect book -- they can suggest a new release or a classic that perhaps you wouldn’t have thought of without their assistance. Utilize their expertise!
2. A library card teaches self-discipline.
Libraries offer a plethora of options for the avid reader. Since most libraries have a limit on how many books you can check out at one time, your child will have have to decide which books he or she wants to check out at any given time -- a great way to learn self-discipline! And if the book they want isn’t available? That’s OK! They will learn how to wait for the book they want (delayed gratification can be a difficult concept for any of us to grasp these days!)
3. A library card saves money.
I’m a big fan of books and think it’s important to have your own books at home, but the cost of books adds up fast! A library card offers children the opportunity to try out new titles and branch out with new topics and ideas without you spending a dime ... as long as you return them on time! Curious about how much you're saving? Help your kids find out the value of your library use by using this "What's Your Library Worth?" Calculator.
4. Visiting the library encourages community building.
Libraries are often a center of the community, with a wide range of events and classes open to people of all ages and backgrounds. Our local library's recent events included a lineup of storytimes, magic shows, informational classes, and more! Attending events and classes can open up a whole new community to a child.
5. A library card teaches responsibility.
Getting your child a library card holds them accountable by making them responsible for keeping track of the books they borrow and for making sure they are returned on time. Children take pride in knowing they are in charge of their card and their books. They'll also learn that with responsibility comes consequences ... especially if they lose a book or return it late!
Libraries are amazing public places, and a library card can open up new worlds to your child. Make a visit today!
Stephanie Duhon is a proud library card holder and the publisher of Macaroni Kid Franklin, Tenn.