Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Advocacy and the Library Card

Library Card Sign Up Month Instagram shareHappy Library Card Sign-Up Month!

As Summer Reading winds down, we shift focus to signing children up for library cards while they head back to school. In past years, my coworkers and I participated in Library Card Sign-Up Month by visiting kindergarten classrooms to deliver library cards. This year our effort has stayed in-house.

Some libraries roll out ad campaigns, focusing on library cards as an essential back to school accessory, while others give out free books or set up booths at local markets. Regardless of how your library participates, Library Card Sign-Up Month is an excellent time to advocate for the importance of a library card. Informing people about all of the resources they can access with their card is advocacy at its most basic. What other chance do we get to talk with people about how the library can personally help them?

If you are looking for more ways to get involved with or promote the effort, the American Library Association has a helpful press kit and promotional page. This year, the ALA and Disney Pixar’s Toy Story have teamed up to promote the message that “libraries offer resources and services that help people pursue their passions and give students the tools to succeed in school and beyond.” Along with cute signage of Woody and company, the toolkit provides useful tips on getting involved. You can try:
Tweeting about your library card
Bringing friends or family members to your library to sign up
Posting a pic of yourself with your library card and use #getlibrarycarded
Using ALA’s adorable signage

As you get patrons excited about their own cards, they may ask you why is a library card an essential back to school item, when the internet is ubiquitous? If your patrons need more talking points, try the following resources.

  • Libraries Transform— ALA’s public awareness campaign has a friendly website full of stats, strategies, and fast facts about the vital role libraries play in today’s society.
  • The State of America’s Libraries Report— did you know that in 2016 more people attended library events than NFL, NBA, and MLB games combined? This fascinating fact and more can be read in the annual report.
  • What’s Your Library Card Worth?— I Love Libraries’ calculator gives patrons a monetary estimate of how much they save by using their library card. While not all kids may be persuaded by ROI, thrifty adults and teachers are curious to see their tax dollars at work.

While I am no longer rushing to see 30 classes in 30 days, September still makes me more conscious of why I encourage people to sign up for a card. Regardless of what fact fits which situation, the same thing is true of every library card: it gives people access to an amazing array of free resources. So, now that you are armed with information (and hopefully excitement), it’s time to get kiddos their cards.


Bridgid Gallagher-Sauter is the Youth Services Team Leader at the Main Branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. She is writing on behalf of the Advocacy and Legislation Committee.

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