Top 4 Reasons to Get Your Library Card

September is Library Card Sign-up Month, and it’s a perfect time for students and adults alike to sign up for a local library card.

Student ReadingIf you are one of the 44% of Americans who don’t yet have a card, we’ve put together four great reasons you should take advantage of Library Card Sign-up Month.

4. Opening New Worlds: Most Americans see the library as an educational support center for students of all ages. For parents in particular, helping their children enjoy reading is one of the most important things they can do.  Reading is fundamental to student development and learning; reading sparks curiosity and imagination. And this is where the library card comes in; it opens wide the world of books.

3. Expert Help: Not only does the public library have books for parents and children to take home and share or read on their own, it has librarians to help locate specific books for every age group and on any and every topic imaginable. And being able to use all of these wonderful books is free to the cardholder!

2. Getting Connected: About 30 percent of all students do not have home access to the Internet, according to the Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, so for these students having a library card is extra important. The Library is a hot spot for free Internet access and word processing computers, even computer classes and Internet instruction are available. In addition, libraries often offer free programs on everything from astronomy to zoo keeping and writing resumes to learning a language, as well as summer reading programs that keep those reading skills strong during summer vacation.

1. Student Success: For all students, the card provides the information resources they need to succeed in school and in life. Resources not only include free access to eBooks and eAudioBooks, online databases for articles and reports, encyclopedias and test preparation materials, but also free access to library staff who can help find additional materials to complete homework assignments, recommend an interesting read for an upcoming book report or teach how to select and use a database to research a science project.  Since most public libraries have Web sites, many services are available from the Internet 24×7.

If you are cardless or haven’t used a library in years, contact your local public library and get a card. In fact, a library card may very well be the most important back-to-school supply of all!

Christina Dunn & Patricia Leslie 

Christina Dunn is Director of the National Library of Education at the Department of Education, and Patricia Leslie is a librarian at the National Library of Education. Both were K-12 public-school librarians before coming to ED.

Happy Read Across America Day!

To honor the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to readers far and wide as Dr. Seuss, March 2, 2011 has been proclaimed Read Across America Day.

Not only are students across the country renewing their pledge to avoid eating green eggs and ham with a fox or in a box, but today’s celebration is a great reminder that continuous reading is at the core of a well-rounded education.

Secretary Duncan joined First Lady Michelle Obama, 400 local school children, the Cat in the Hat, and several celebrities including Jessica Alba and Donald Driver of the Green Bay Packers at the Library of Congress to celebrate this year’s Read Across America Day.