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Friday, September 9, 2011

A library card

Ben and his brand new library card, Sept. 2011

"When I was young,
we couldn't afford much.
But my library card
was my key to the world."
~ John Goodman

My son Benjamin and I took a trip to the library yesterday, and while we were there, I saw a sign announcing that September is "National Library Card Sign-up Month".  (You would think, as many times as we go to the library, that I would've already known that, but somehow I missed it on our earlier visits this month.)

Begun by the American Library Association in 1987, National Library Card Sign-Up Month is "a time to remind parents and children that a library card is the most important school supply of all".  Our library encourages everyone five years old and above to sign up for their own cards. 

Of course, I've had a library card for years and years. Emmalie and Nick have each had their own cards since they were in Kindergarten.  Ben, however, has always used mine.  When I asked him if he would like to get a card of his own, Ben's eyes lit up and he grinned one of his big toothless grins!  (And that was before I even told him that the children's department would give him a prize -- a coupon for an Auntie Anne's pretzel, a coupon for a free game of bowling at our local alley, and a Garfield bookmark -- just for signing up this month!)

I think part of the appeal for Ben was that having his own library card is one more sign that he's a big kid now.  He goes to school every day just like his brother and sister, and now he has his own card, just like they do.  But it was more than that.  Although he's not quite six yet, I think Ben has some understanding of the power contained in that thin piece of plastic. As we left the library, he skipped along beside me, his card gripped tightly in one hand.  He looked up at me, smiling, and said, "Hey, Mommy!  Now you don't have to share your library card any more and we can BOTH get more books!  Isn't that great?"  Yes, Ben, it's great, all right! :)

As John Goodman said, a library card is a key to the world -- and not just the world we live on, either.  It's also a key to Narnia... to Hogwarts... to Middle-earth and the planet Uriel.  It's a key to the past as well as various futures.  A library card unlocks doors to knowledge and doors to imagination.  It is a master key, opening a building that's filled to the brim with treasures, all sitting there, just waiting to be discovered.  Benjamin now owns one of the most important keys anybody can possess.  I hope that he will cherish it always, and use it often!

1 comment:

  1. Aww! :) It makes me want to rush out and get a card for someone little like that.