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September is National Library Card Sign-up Month

Written By Editor on 9/6/17 | 9/6/17

SCHENECTADY – The doors to public libraries are open to all, but it is a thin plastic card that opens up the treasures inside.



September is National Library Card Sign-up Month, and it is the perfect time to obtain this key to the library treasure chest.



“Last year, the public libraries in Fulton, Montgomery, Schenectady, and Schoharie counties loaned nearly 1.6 million items. Each item was borrowed by somebody using a library card,” said Eric Trahan, Executive Director of the Mohawk Valley Library System (MVLS).



A library card provides its user with access to a universe of books – a nearly endless array of stories and information. Yet, the card is even more useful, allowing the user to borrow items from a diverse range of materials.



“Library cards enable you to access free books, DVDs, CDs, databases, and free museum passes at the Schenectady County Public Library. Nearly 87,000 residents of Schenectady County are registered library card holders, and we are always excited to add more,” said Karen Bradley, Director of the Schenectady County Public Library.



As a result, libraries build a meaningful connection to the communities they serve – whether they are located in urban, suburban, or rural areas.



“We provide a welcoming, nurturing, and safe environment where our patrons can access a wide range of services,” said Dawn Lamphere, Director of the Margaret Reaney Memorial Library in St. Johnsville.



For example, children borrow themed kits of books, games, and activities in a self-contained backpack. The kits are themed to cover a wide range of topics such as learning to read, learning to count, music, insects, art, dental health, weather, and much more.



“I love to see them proudly wear the backpacks on their way out of the building, knowing that they will soon discover the treasures within,” said Ms. Lamphere.



“Many people have a traditional view of libraries, and we are eager to loan out our books with their capabilities to educate and entertain. But we are just as delighted when we provide services beyond print books,” said Barbara Madonna, Director of the Gloversville Public Library.



Among the resources at Gloversville Public Library are a service where volunteers deliver books to homebound patrons and an extensive microfilm collection of the local newspaper – often used in genealogical searches.



One of the most vital services that libraries provide is access to computers and wireless connectivity. For many visitors, a library card is the key to the online world that would otherwise be inaccessible.



Furthermore, cardholders are not limited by the collection contained within their local library. They can request materials at other libraries via Interlibrary Loan (ILL). More than 126,000 ILL requests were filled at MVLS libraries last year.



Patrons also enjoy 24/7 access to thousands of electronic books and audiobooks that can be borrowed using a smartphone or other mobile device. Last year, patrons borrowed more than 87,000 of these digital items.



“A library card allows you to access your library 24 hours a day with online resources and downloadable books, magazines, and movies. It encourages literacy, takes you to far off places and on new adventures, enables you to learn a new language or skill, and helps bridge the great digital divide by providing access to computers and wireless technology,” said Ms. Bradley.



“Libraries change lives, and obtaining a library card is the first step in that process,” said Ms. Lamphere.

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