Library Card Sign-up Month Fact Sheet

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Library Card Sign-up Month

September is Library Card Sign-up Month - a time when the American Library Association and libraries across the country remind parents that a library card is the most important school supply of all.

The observance was launched in 1987 to meet the challenge of then Secretary of Education William J. Bennett who said: "Let's have a national campaign...every child should obtain a library card - and use it."  Since then, thousands of public and school libraries join each fall in a national effort to ensure every child does just that.

Library cards are generally free to those living in the library's service area. In most cases, borrowing privileges are granted on the spot. Some libraries may require some form of identification, proof of residency or the signature of a guardian.

Libraries play an important role in the education and development of children. Studies show that children who are read to in the home and who use the library perform better in school and are more likely to continue to use the library as a source of lifetime learning.

Check it out
Libraries offer books, magazines, audio- and videotapes, computers, software and other multimedia materials. Libraries offer a wide range of other items on loan to children and their families, including toys, games and puzzles. Most can be borrowed for home use simply by showing a library card.  And librarians are on hand to help recommend materials suitable for various ages and interests.

Libraries also offer a variety of programs to stimulate an interest in reading and learning. Preschool story hours expose young children to the joy of reading, while homework centers provide computers and assistance to older children after school. Summer reading clubs keep children reading during school vacation and have been shown to be the most important factor in avoiding the decrease in reading skills that educators refer to as "summer learning loss."  Movies and puppet shows are other popular offerings.

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