September is Library Card Sign-up Month. Our Outreach Coordinator, Leena Desai, jots down some of the many reasons you should support your local library.
September is named Library Card Sign-up Month because this is the month when libraries across North America gear up for another busy school year. COVID-19 might have changed things this year, but librarians—just like everyone else—are soldiering on. Here are some of the many reasons you should support your local library:
- Did you know that the first public libraries that offered free memberships and were supported by taxes were opened in Canada in 1883 in Saint John, Guelph and Toronto? Since then, libraries have undergone a significant evolution, shifting from physical infrastructure to an in-depth digital one.
- There are over 400 libraries in Canada, with Toronto having the largest public library system in the country.
- The range of programs that libraries offer now includes STEAM activities, in-person and virtual homework help and technology workshops. Many libraries even offer “makerspaces” that include labs and materials for DIY projects, such as 3-D printers, video-editing stations, sound studios, sewing machines, craft supplies and more.
- When COVID-19 bought things to a standstill in March this year, libraries were quick to adapt and pivot to a wide range of digital operations such as electronic library cards, educational apps, ebooks, audiobooks, animated talking picture books, music, videos, independent films, access to streaming services, and to knowledge-and-skill development resources like Lynda.com, Gale Courses, and Rosetta Stone and much more.
- For new Canadians, many libraries offer English-language learning programs; but more than that, they offer a community atmosphere where newcomers to the country feel welcome and accepted.
- Most libraries have now waived late fees for the return of books and other items. To celebrate Library Card Sign-up Month many are even organizing contests for members to win fun prizes.
All things considered, today, libraries are more than mere repositories of great books; indeed, they are engaging community centres where people can get together to access a host of thought-provoking content. September is an especially good month to walk over to your local library and show the librarian that you really appreciate the work they do!