Get in Your Element this September—sign up for a library card! From borrowing books, ebooks, and museum passes to getting homework help, learning new skills, or attending story time, a library card helps you do more of what you enjoy. Get a library card and dive into a new hobby. Use your library card to tinker in a maker space and spark your creativity. A library card is your most important school supply—it's elemental, really—and everyone should have one! Visit your library to see what's new and take part in the celebration. Libraries across the country are participating. Do you have friends who don't have a library card? Invite them to sign up during September.
Library Card Sign-up Month History
Library Card Sign-Up Month first started in 1987 as a response to then Secretary of Education, William Bennett, who stated: “Let’s have a campaign … Every child should obtain a library card and use it.”
The American Library Association took Secretary Bennett’s words seriously and teamed up with the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) to start the campaign, with a grant of $85,000 from the Reader’s Digest Foundation. A telegram was sent to Secretary Bennett saying, “We accept your challenge.”
The first theme was “The Best Gift You’ll Ever Give Your Child … A Library Card.” Because of the Reader’s Digest grant, Library Card Sign-Up Month was advertised on over 500 TV and radio stations, along with 200 magazines. Packets of information and ideas were sent out to libraries to help the campaign gain momentum and to inspire librarians. Ideas included circulating a letter from the librarian, awards and celebrations, PTA recruitment, and joint sponsors.
October 14 was the kick off celebration for the campaign, held on the Mall in Washington, D.C., with 500 children in attendance. The event included remarks from Chisholm, Newman, and Secretary Bennett, along with story and craft time, and free pizza.
The following year September was declared Library Card Sign-Up Month. Since then, thousands of public libraries and schools have participated every fall, stressing the importance of obtaining a library card as a child’s most important school supply.
Kids will receive a Back to School Kit courtesy of PBS Kids with new sign-up! *Limited quantities, while supplies last*
For more information about how to get a SEARLibrary card, visit our Library Cards page or click here.