I love library cards. They may be one of my favorite aspects about libraries and that’s saying a lot. I appreciate the the fun designs, the smooth plastic-y feeling and everything that they represent: access, a right to read and a place to be. So, when I saw an idea rolling around Facebook about people collecting library cards for displays- I could not pass up the opportunity to start my own collection.
I reached out to librarians on Facebook, in person, and through e-mail/ contact forms to see how many library cards I could come up with. The results were overwhelmingly awesome and I love mail, so this made everything even more fun.
I thought this collection could be a cool way to connect with libraries and librarians. I reached out in library Facebook groups and e-mailed libraries to request their cards. So many people were willing to mail me beautiful library cards. Some libraries even sent me as many as five different cards from their system. It was really cool getting personal notes and memorabilia from so many different libraries. This project really shows how helpful librarians are! Some people gave me their library cards from cities they used to live in.
I ended up with 88 cards from 39 states and 45 different libraries. I still need to cross: Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Vermont off the list.
I loved receiving letters and shout outs from library workers around the country and of course, looking at all the amazing card designs. I noticed a few different “library card trends” so let’s take a look:
Sleek and Professional
These cards are smooth, classic and get the point across!
Toledo Lucas County Public Library, Hennepin County Library, Allen County Public Library, Lawrence Public Library, Mercer County Library System, Skokie Public Library, Denver Public Library, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Santa Clara County Library District
Colorful and Fun
This may have been my favorite category, because they are all so pretty. I especially loved the “guinea pig” photograph on Middle County’s card. That was the only card I saw with photographs, which does seem fun and personal.
Allen County Public Library, Hennepin County Library, Middle County Public Library, King County Library System, Laramie County Library.
I loved seeing the cards that represented the regional identities of the libraries. The jazz player in New Orleans, the cowboy in Scottsdale, the flower form Hawaii. It makes these library cards a form of postcard from the region.
Scottsdale Public Library, DC Public Library, New Orleans Public Library, Hawaii State Public Library System, Sublette County Libraries.
Pictures of buildings- historic or current, or people enjoying library services can be a good way to showcase a library.
Camden Public Library, Columbiana Public Library, Camden Public Library, Madison Valley Public Library
Library cards that love libraries. It doesn’t get much more wholesome than that. My favorite is “I Read Past My Bedtime,” because it’s so relatable!
Boston Public Library, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library System, St. Louis County Library, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Hennepin County Library
This was hands down my favorite category. I mean owls, dogs, horses, a snail reading a book, AND A PARROT! And of course the ever-legendary Bigfoot.
King County Library System (three), Johnson County Library (three), St. Louis County Library, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Sweetwater Libraries, Scottsdale Public Library
I’m not sure who made the art on these various cards (maybe there wasn’t room to sign the bottom), but they are all so beautiful!
San Francisco Public Library, Westhampton Free Library, Kansas City Public Library
I hope you enjoyed my new collection half as much as I do. If you have a cool card to share, let me know and we can continue to spread the #librarylove! September marks Library Card Sign Up Month, so it’s time to get ready!