In the last days of September (National Library Card month), my six-year old and I were at the self-checkout machine at our local library when she asked:
“Mommy, can I get my own library card?”
We celebrate so many children’s firsts, so why don’t we make a bigger fuss about our childrens’ first library cards? Because I’m telling you, this was a Big Deal Moment in my kid’s life. In fact, she was so starry-eyed holding her new card that I asked her to share her excitement with your kids.
Hope: I would like to tell kids that if they get a library card, then you don’t have to say ‘oh mom, I want this book, can you check it out?’ You do it yourself with this magical card! It’s amazing because, you give the card to the librarian and just get your own books! Or you can use the checkout machine if you know how to do it yourself. I know how!
Me: How does a kid get a library card?
Hope: Just tell the librarian you want one. They ask your parent questions and type things on the computer. Then you write your name on the back of the card. That made me feel grown up like a teenager!
Me: Where should kids keep their library cards so they’re safe?
Hope: Um…well, if you’re a girl you can put it in your jewelry box. Boys could put it in a box with their action figures. Wait, girls can have action figures too! Well, just put it somewhere where your name won’t get smudged. If I had a baby brother, I’d keep it away from him.
Me: What happens if you lose the card?
Hope: I’d freak out and faint.
Me: Ah. Better hold onto it then! Do you plan to use the card a lot?
Hope: Oh, I’m going to check out a million books with this magical card. Not all at one time though!
Me: Why do you keep calling library cards magical?
Hope: I want kids to understand they’re amazing.
Me: Will you still read Bookboard books too?
Hope: Yes! Bookboard is awesome because it’s my special library. I want both kinds of books. I like having choices!
Parent-to-parent, here are a few extra tips:
- Start early to engage young readers! Some libraries offer library cards to children of any age, as long as parents provide required information.
- Note that library cards may entitle children to all library materials (magazines, CDs, DVDs) and select services. Ask the youth services librarian for policies and guidelines.
- Check out library websites which often include helpful “My First Library Card” information pages.
- Talk with children about the responsibilities that come with a library card.
- For a fun read on this topic, check out Amelia Bedelia’s First Library Card (HarperCollins).