Photo by Heather Middleton
By Joel Hall
What's in your wallet? Throughout the month of September, the Clayton County Library System is doing everything it can to make sure your wallet contains a library card.
According to the American Library Association, September is national Library Card Sign-up Month, a time in which libraries around the country remind young, and old, of the resources available at public libraries.
During this month, the Clayton County Headquarters Library, and all of the county's branch libraries, are creating incentives for residents to sign up for a new library card, particularly for children and teens.
"All the branches are doing something," said Ramona Clark, youth services assistant for the Riverdale Branch Library. "Our intent is for every student in Clayton County to have a library card, whether they are just starting pre-K [pre-kindergarten] or going off to college. We hope that they will learn how to use the library [and] find out all the resources that are available for them, such as resume help and things that will help them out later in life."
These branch libraries are conducting the following library-card promotions throughout the month of September:
* At the Morrow Branch Library, each child or teen applying for a library card will receive a small gift, and his/her photo on a wall, as part of a visual display.
* At the Riverdale Branch Library, children applying for a card will receive a free pencil and be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a weekly prize.
* At the Lovejoy Branch Library, children will receive a small gift when applying for a library card.
* At all Clayton County library locations, children and teens applying for a library card will be able to have a digital photo taken of them, and have it "funkified," using FotoFlexer, an online photo-editing system. Everyone applying for library cards will be able to have their regular photo transformed into a coloring sheet, an image on the front page of an imaginary publication, or a picture in an "ancient" book.
According to Janice Arcuria, assistant director of youth services for the Clayton County Library System, having a library card doesn't just mean access to books. She said a library card gives subscribers free access to online tutoring, research databases, career guidance and resume help, job training, and language-learning software.
Arcuria said library youth services assistants have been conducting card sign-up drives at local schools this month, as a way to attract even more new readers. She said encouraging people to have library cards promotes a culture of "lifelong learning."
"We get a higher participation level when we go to the kids, as opposed to waiting for them to come here," Arcuria said. "A lot of people don't know that there is no minimum age to get a library card. Even babies can have library cards.
"Parents just have to have verification of their address, and the parent can fill out the paperwork for them," she said. "For kids and adults, it is one of the greatest gifts that you can receive, because it gives you access to so much information."
Library card applications are available at all Clayton County public libraries in English, Spanish, Khmer, Lao, and Vietnamese. For more information, or to request a library card drive at your school, call (770) 210-5238, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.