September is Library Card Sign Up Month: Do You Have a Card?
By Karen Ballum on September 09, 2010
BlogHer Original Post
The American Library Association has declared September to be Library Card Sign Up Month. If you don’t already have a library card, you need to get yourself to a library immediately. A library card is one of the best investments you can make for you and your family and, in my opinion, a back-to-school essential. (I have two words for you - homework club.) Let me show you how I’ve used my library card in the past week.
I’ve used the online catalogue to reserve books. Most of these books I will not get instantly because there is a wait list. That’s fine. I’ll get it when I get it. There are very few books I need right away. Those are ones that I buy, and they are few and far between. Some of the books are ones I’ve discovered online from other bloggers. Some of the books aren’t even on the library shelves yet but are on order, so I’ve gotten to the top of the line and will get those quickly.
I used the digital media catalogue to request some e-books and audio books. Some are the same books that I’ve requested physical copies of, some are not. If you enjoy either format, I find I can often receive these book requests much faster than I do a physical book. Sometimes I’ll request it in a couple of different formats and use whatever one I get first and then cancel the other requests. Sometimes I just really like listening to certain series on audio.
My library happens to use Overdrive Media for a lot of their digital content. I was in the office the other day and discovered I had run out of stored podcasts. The afternoons in my office tend to be pretty quiet and without some kind of distraction, I get a bit twitchy. Rather than seeking out more podcasts, I downloaded the Overdrive Media application for my iPhone, logged into my library account and downloaded an MP3 audiobook right to my iPhone.
Last weekend, we curled up on the couch and watched some DVDs that I had requested from the library. At my library we can keep most movies for a week and most documentaries for three weeks. They also have “express” movies which are new releases that you can check out for three days. Sometimes it takes a long time to get a new release but we really don’t mind. We also browsed the video shelves and found a few titles we never knew we always wanted to watch.
I logged into the Oxford Dictionary’s website with my library card to double-check the spelling of a word. I was doing some editing for a client and came across a word that spellcheck was telling me was misspelled but Google was telling me was a variant. Oxford’s website was awesome because I could check English, Canadian and American dictionaries all at once. Verdict? Misspelled. (Yes, Google lied to me. I know, it’s shocking.) I can also use it to access all kinds of databases and journals for free instead of paying for individual site memberships.
I requested a museum pass. My library offers a bunch of different options for museum passes. Due to their popularity, the wait time can be long but for free museum access we’ll take it. The pass is also available without request at a couple of library branches and if I wanted it immediately I could go to one of those locations. The particular pass I requested is good for 5 people, maximum of three adults. When we get it, we’ll have it for a week. I think we’ll use it to go to the Diefenbunker.
I requested a pedometer. There are a number of paths around our new house and we’ve been curious as to how long they are. We’ll get to keep the pedometer for three weeks so we’ll have lots of time for exploring!
I’ve made dinner using cookbooks I got from the library. I used to have a rather serious cookbook buying problem, particularly those cookbooks that pop up on the discount tables. I’ve found a few gems but most of those cookbooks I ended up donating to a thrift store. I’ve suffered disappointment in a few books from celebrity chefs as well. My new rule (which I follow most of the time) is that I don’t buy a cookbook until I’ve checked it out of the library first. Some have been good enough to buy, others not so much.
These are just ways that I’ve used the library. The ALA posted 52 ways to use your library card -- one for every week of the year. There are some great things on there, some things I haven’t thought of or can’t use such as homework clubs (we don’t have children).
Do you have a library card? How have you used your library this week?
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