by Leonard Gill
What’s the most important school supply this new school year? A library card, and it doesn’t cost a cent.
That’s the message of the American Library Association, which is partnering with public libraries across the country in September to celebrate National Library Card Sign-up Month. Snoopy, in a “Joe Cool” T-shirt, is national honorary chair for the monthlong campaign.
Throughout September, local students are being especially encouraged to get a library card because of what it entitles them to: a wide range of library services, programs, and materials — from books (print and digital) and magazines to music and computers.
In mid-September, the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library at 3030 Poplar is going to be really widening that range of offerings when CLOUD901 opens. That’s the name of the “creative production space” for teens featuring state-of-the-art technologies (including a 3-D printer delivered just last week) designed to introduce students to 21st-century skills.
But National Library Card Sign-up Month is for everyone, and in Memphis that can mean big numbers. As Director of Libraries Keenon McCloy points out:
“More than three million customers enter the doors of Memphis Public Libraries each year, and our friendly staff is there to greet them. We pride ourselves in helping customers of all ages to ‘connect, learn, and grow.’ And we work to invest in our youth, contribute to safe and vibrant neighborhoods throughout Memphis, and help to ensure prosperity and economic opportunities for all.”
So, you need a library card? You have a child who's 17 or under who needs one? Visit any of the 18 branches of the Memphis Public Library and present an acceptable form of identification — a Tennessee driver’s license or state ID will do. Or a voter registration card, current utility bill, printed check, lease, or check stub. Or go online for the application.