North Carolina celebrates year five of its Smartest Card campaign

For Immediate Release
Mon, 09/20/2010


Megan McFarlane

Library Card Sign-up Month around the country

CHICAGO – The State Library of North Carolina is following the lead of libraries all across the country by reminding parents and children that a library card is the smartest school supply of all. 

This year marks the fifth annual statewide Library Card Sign-up Month campaign. Since 2006, the State Library of North Carolina has created an annual public awareness campaign featuring the American Library Association’s Smartest Card. This year’s campaign features North Carolina poet laureate Cathy Smith Bowers.

Bowers donated her time and image to the creation of a public service announcement (PSA) and a podcast. In addition to the PSA and podcast, Bowers helped kick off the campaign with an open mike night at the Asheboro Branch of the Randolph County Public Library, where she was joined by several local poets on Sept. 8.

Previous spokespeople in North Carolina have included world renowned saxophonist Branford Marsalis, actress Andie MacDowell, former Carolina Hurricanes co-Captain Kevyn Adams and North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue.

In addition to the State Library of North Carolina, libraries across the country have been hard at work promoting Library Card Sign-up Month.

The Mount Prospect (Ill.) Public Library works with the local public school system by including "Get a Library Card" in the back-to-school supply lists at local schools. In August, the library saw a 30 percent increase in the number of children receiving library cards. The library also reminds adults of the value of having a library card by partnering with 78 local businesses to give discounts to cardholders.

The Winfield (Kan.) Public Library partners with its local school system to sign up 2nd graders for their first library card. The library sends the applications to the school, which hands them to the children for their parents to fill out and send back to school. Besides access to all the resources at the library, students who sign up for a library card have an extra incentive, as the class that signs up the greatest percentage of children receives a party.

Bismarck (N.D.) Public Library is promoting Library Card Sign-up Month using the Smartest Card logo developed by ALA.  Library staff took photos of local celebrities and business owners holding a giant library card. Photos were branded with the Smartest Card logo and displayed throughout the library to promote the library's new website.

The Norfolk (Va.) Public Library provides new cardholders with incentives, including illuminated key chains for new adult cardholders and mood pencils for children and teens. The library also works with local businesses to provide coupons and discounts to cardholders during September. 

Library Card Sign-up Month is a time when public and school libraries across the country remind parents that a library card is the most important school supply of all. Library Card Sign-up Month is sponsored by the ALA’s Campaign for America’s Libraries.

Libraries looking for materials to help promote Library Card Sign-up Month locally can download a print PSA featuring NBA Star and Library Card Sign-up Month Honorary Chair Dwyane Wade. ALA will customize the print PSA at no charge with a library’s logo. For information and to download PSAs visit

Newly redesigned Smartest Card logos are available at Other promotional materials, including a sample press release, letter to the editor, proclamation and audio PSAs are also available on the website.

In addition, the website is looking for photos of library users with the “smartest card” – a library card.  To upload photos, visit’s Flickr page. Photos will be shown on the home page throughout the month of September.

The Campaign for America’s Libraries, ( is ALA’s public awareness campaign that promotes the value of libraries and librarians. Thousands of libraries of all types – across the country and around the globe - use the Campaign’s @ your library® brand. The Campaign is made possible by ALA’s Library Champions, corporations and foundations.