Library Card Sign-Up Month is an observance celebrated by the American Library Association (ALA) and many other libraries nationwide. The purpose of this September event is to promote and remind the importance of library visits, and how the first step to unlimited resources, knowledge and skills all lie with the simple step of getting a library card. The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, going back to its founding on October 6, 1876. Their mission is “to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.”
What started the Library Card Sign-up Month can be seen as a slightly unintended challenge that ended up having the greatest response. The campaign began in 1987, when the former Secretary of Education, William Bennett, said “Let’s have a campaign…Every child should obtain a library card and use it.” He got a response from the American Library Association combined with the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS), that launched a campaign with an $85,000 grant from the Reader’s Digest Foundation.
How Library Card Sign-Up Month Unites People
Library books hold old treasures and secret writings. Older library books have signatures on them, we can see the dates and names of the people who once held a particular book in their hands. Maybe they were doing research or perhaps they shared a similar interest to the person currently holding it, either way it gives little glimpses of the past, a small part of history encapsulated in print. People remain united through time, without ever knowing one another, in the most curious of ways. The library is the best way to educate those who don’t have the privilege to gain knowledge elsewhere. The library is a social place, mixing all sorts of people, interests, ages, all with one purpose: to keep on learning, gaining skills and information. The power of knowledge of a collective is what will move every place, country, and culture. What better way to unite people can there be?
Interesting facts about Libraries
Public libraries started to take shape in the late 1800 and beginnings of the 1900s.
There are over 100,000 libraries in the United States, including public libraries, academic libraries, school libraries, special libraries, armed forces libraries and government libraries.
Public libraries are free places for everyone, it provides all the necessary tools, information and topics to further all types of knowledge. Libraries used to be segregated, but notably it was women’s clubs that had the biggest impact. They brought books to communities and children who didn’t have direct access to larger cities’ libraries.
The Scottish-American, Andrew Carnegie, is known as “the patron saint of public libraries” for his millions of dollars in donations to construct libraries around the world.
When the civil rights act of 1964 outlawed discrimination of “public accommodations”, libraries started receiving funding as part of the war on poverty.
In 1990, the American Library Association adopted the service “library services for the poor”.
Libraries are a great way for people of all ages to have access to knowledge and entertainment through books. Whether your looking to learn something new or just pass some time, the library is the perfect place, and getting a library card is the way to start. This month is dedicated to encouraging people to sign up for their own library card.