A Back-to-School Essential
Published: August 31, 2019
By: Kimberly Blaker
What’s the most important school tool of all? A library card! September is Library Card Sign-up Month, which began in 1987 when former U.S. Secretary of Education William J. Bennett urged a national campaign for all kids to obtain and use a library card.
Today’s libraries offer a broad array of free materials, services, and activities. These are just a few of the great reasons to make the library an integral part of yours and your child’s life:
Movies and films – There’s a great selection of mainstream movies and television series as well as educational, independent, and foreign films on DVD for children and adults alike.
Music CDs – Music is the universal language. Check out pop, rock, and country CDs and even introduce your kids to a great selection of classical, jazz, blues, international music and more.
Computer software and games – For today’s video game-obsessed youth, the array of children’s educational computer software and games found in libraries is a welcome addition. You’ll also find teen and adult video games, instructional and reference software, and productivity software ranging from Microsoft programs to graphic design.
Periodicals – Newspapers, magazines, and special interest periodicals are available for both in-library use and for check out.
Books, audiobooks, and ebooks – In addition to large collections of print fiction, non-fiction, and reference books, libraries offer audiobooks on CD and typically carry unabridged editions. Many libraries now offer ebooks as well in many different formats.
Computer and Internet use – Nearly all libraries today offer free computer access for browsing the Internet as well as basic word processing programs to Excel, PowerPoint, and more.
Inter-library loan – If your library or local branch doesn’t carry a particular book or item you’re looking for, most have inter-library and reciprocal loan programs. Your library can request the material from another library for you, or use your library card at other libraries in nearby communities.
Online catalog – Nearly all libraries have their own websites with access to their complete catalog. You can browse or search for materials from home to determine availability. If the item you want isn’t available, you can usually reserve it or request an inter-library loan right from your computer.
Special events – Libraries offer a wide array of programs, events, and activities. These may include children’s story times, computer classes, enrichment programs, book discussion groups, used-book sales, author events, children’s and teen movie and craft events, summer reading programs and much more.
Kimberly Blaker is a freelance family and lifestyle writer. She also writes blog posts and content for businesses and is an expert in on-page SEO. Find her at kimberlyblaker.com