“A library card,” says the American Library Association, “is the most important school supply of all.” September marks not only the start of a new school year. It is Library Card Sign-up Month, which began in 1987, when Secretary of Education William J. Bennett said “Let’s have a national campaign…every child should obtain a library card – and use it.” It is an observation still honored by the ALA and public libraries throughout the country.
Libraries today 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 & films – Today’s libraries offer 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. Your can 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 & games – For today’s video game obsessed youth, the array of children’s educational computer software and games found in libraries is a welcome. 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, audio books, and ebooks – In addition to large collections of print fiction, non-fiction and reference books, libraries offer audio books on CD and typically carry unabridged editions. Many libraries now offer ebooks as well in many different formats.
Computer & 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 now have inter-library and reciprocal loan programs. So your library can request the material from another library for you, or you can 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 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, and much more.
CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF LIBRARY BRANCHES AND HOURS IN STATEN ISLAND
By Kimberly Blaker, a lifestyle and parenting freelance writer. Her articles have appeared in more than 200 newspapers, parenting and women’s magazines, and other publications throughout the U.S. and Canada.