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Library cards are tools for school

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Pencils. Crayons. Notebooks. Glue. Scissors. With the start of a new school year underway, all of these items and more are filling the backpacks of students throughout Delta County. Store displays of school supplies are sparse in the wake of countless parents with supply lists in hand.

However, not appearing on any store shelf or school supply list is an item that can benefit every student in the upcoming year: a library card.

The American Library Association has declared September to be "Library Card Sign-up Month" because this is a good time of year to remind the masses that a library card opens the door to endless opportunities. A primary focus is encouraging students, parents and school staff to take advantage of the myriad resources available with a library card.

School libraries have seen major cuts in recent years due to a trend of rising costs and tighter budgets that force school administrators to make difficult choices. Without funding for resources or the librarians to manage them, some schools have closed their libraries indefinitely.

"This is where public libraries can really step up and make a positive impact in their communities," says Lea Hart, district director of Delta County Libraries. "A strong partnership between public libraries and schools creates many opportunities for resource sharing. By providing access to library cards, Delta County Libraries can better support students and teachers."

Our public libraries offer many valuable resources for schools to utilize. Classic fiction, non-fiction, educational DVDs, Britannica Online, literary journals, online test prep, biographies and EBSCO are just to name a few.

"Library users have access to a large collection of resources for check out within the county as well as throughout the state of Colorado using our Interlibrary Loan program and courier system," Hart explains. "Not to mention the vast resources available through our online library."

For parents who are nervous about fines, an e-card might be a suitable alternative. The e-card only allows users to access the online library with no possibility for losing items or accruing late fees.

So grab your pencils, notebooks and a library card, and get ready for a great school year! To learn more or to apply for a card online, visit http://www.deltalibraries.org/get-a-library-card/.

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