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.


  1. With all The Parent control software That’s available There is no reason Why a parent Should not let their child Use a computer To find information by helping them to get a online library card .A Parent should never just turn over control of a computer to a child but get a parent control software installed first There is also software that will show you what your child has been doing on the computer.Good parenting is a child’s first line of defense

  2. Parents should need to guide and make it sure their kids are not visiting any pornographic sites. It doesn’t mean that they have library card then you have not to worry anything.

  3. I so agree that every child needs access to a library. I was one of the unfortunate children in WV that had no access when I was young. A whole new world opens up when children are exposed to books.

    I reside in GA. Every town/city needs a library! Please support your “Friends of the Library.”

  4. Oh Boy – probably going to get in some trouble here. A few reasons not to: The Internet (covers needs effectively with expert help at many sites); Kindles, ect. (again instant downloads from the Internet); Parent control to keep kids away from pornography and also know what their kids are reading; Pedophiles in libraries – although not as big an issue in some areas stopped letting my grandchildren use the Multnomah County Library (Ore.) when visiting family without an adult along. Used to love to go to that library until recent decades. I believe there does need to be a national and state archives for all books but also that the local library is becoming a dinosaur and too costly to keep for nostalgia sake.

    • 1) Libraries have database subscriptions with more reliable information from printed, published sources than random articles posted by questionable authority on the “free web;” 2) Kindles & other readers are supported by libraries, so you can get FREE eBooks instead of paying for everything; 3) on-site experts are often better than the call-in or chat “experts” you get online — students frequently express frustration about phone help from support sites; 4) libraries are always best when parents accompany children, but most libraries have separate sections for children, teens, and adults (which definitely helps with your concern about stalkers). Libraries are not dinosaurs, and if your local library is in danger of becoming one then you need to visit one of the thousands of vibrant, energized local learning centers called “libraries” and help your local library with a makeover. Libraries are all about the BEST in equal opportunity and education for all, which is a vital aspect of democracy.

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