I’m thinking this might be considered a matched set with Monday’s blog about National Literacy Day. The American Library Association has designated September as Library Card Sign-up Month. They remind parents and children that a library card is the most important school supply of all. They didn’t mention it in the publicity, but it stays important when school days are far behind.
Getting a library card was a sign of achievement to our three when they were kids. We regularly visited our well-stocked post library at Fort Sam Houston, TX. They checked out whatever they wanted on my card until they reached that important milestone of learning to read. When they could read a book by themselves, we made an event for them to get their own personal card. Repeating all the words they had memorized on the page did not count, although that is an important step in learning to read. We wanted to mark reading as an accomplishment and a personal library card as an achievement.
This did get Anna in a bit of trouble one day as she stood in line with her card. She had not learned to read silently, and the checkout line was longer than her patience. She opened her book and began to read. A hefty man in front of her turned around and asked me indignantly, “How old is she, anyway?” as though someone that small had no right to be reading. I told him she was four. He said, “Hmmm,” and went back to waiting his turn. Little did I know that her future held a job as director of the Marshall Public Library, a bit north of Fort Sam Houston. I’m thinking she’s handing out some library cards of her own this September.
I treasure both of my library cards – the community one at Oak Grove Public Library and the one at Cook Library at the University of Southern Mississippi – one on my keychain, the other in my billfold pocket with my credit card and driver’s license. Where I go, they go. If I can’t get a book at one, I try the other. If neither has the book I want, librarians are cheerful about finding it on an Interlibrary Loan.
Sometimes my librarians honor a request for the library collection. There was the time I read a review of a first book by an unknown author that sounded intriguing. I asked our community librarian to order it for our library and let me read it first. She did. I enjoyed the book, and it caught on in our library as well as others. You may have heard of it. It is called The Help.
So if you don’t have a library card, make haste and get one. Oh, go ahead. Get two!