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Governor Wolf is focused on supporting education and has included “$11 million increase for libraries, including $69,720,000 for the Public Library Subsidy.” Photo: Marisa Sias

The importance of a library card for low-income students

The library is designed to meet the needs of the community by carefully considering inclusivity, diversity, and equity. A library card provides unlimited access

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September was the National Library Card Sign-Up Month and if you missed the opportunity to get your child a library card, no need to panic, you still have time to get a card for your child and yourself. 

The library has a plethora of resources available to individuals— latest ebooks, audiobooks, streaming media, news outlets, and online learning sites are offered by the library free of charge. It also has a wonderful online story time and author events that are streamed on various platforms. The library is designed to meet the needs of the community by carefully considering inclusivity, diversity, and equity. 

The Free Library of Philadelphia has LGBTQ+ film recommendations, events, and resources to help those interested in learning about the topic or need supportive material that ‘emphasize the diversity of sexual and gender identity-based cultures.’ For more information on the resources available about LGBTQ click here

The library card provides access to thousands of materials from books, DVDs, CDS, digital media, online databases, free public computers, and wireless internet. Additional perks are learning a new language at your own pace, homework assistance, and LinkedIn Learning.

Valerie Samuel, Assistant Chief of Youth Services and Programs at the Free Library of Philadelphia, explained the importance of the resources offered by the library, noting that the “Language and Learning Center has created a space for people to come for conversation while providing resources for those who are just learning or would like to learn [a new language].” 

Also, the library Job Seekers’ Program is designed to help unemployed individuals or those seeking a different job the opportunity to create a resume, search for job vacancies, and create a LinkedIn account.

One of the most compelling programs offered by the library is Literacy Enrichment After-School Program (LEAP), that provides homework assistance, STEAM and humanities programs, and fosters a love for reading while being inclusive. Also, “LEAP advances adult and teen workforce development by employing After-School Leaders (ASLs) and Teen Leadership Assistants (TLAs). During the academic year, ASLs and TLAs support youth learning at neighborhood libraries and engage in regular professional and life-skills workshops,” states the Free Library of Philadelphia. 

The Pennsylvania Department for Education expressed the importance of students obtaining a library card in a recent press release. “My mother worked in a library, so I was fortunate to spend a lot of time around books as a child, and my love of reading has followed me into adulthood,” said Acting Secretary of Education Eric Hagarty. “One of the easiest ways to encourage young learners to pick up a book is by visiting their local library, where they can be surrounded by the stories and adventures that will ignite their imagination.”

Governor Wolf is focused on supporting education and has included “$11 million increase for libraries, including $69,720,000 for the Public Library Subsidy.” 

“If you haven’t been in a library lately, I guarantee you’ll be surprised at what’s available to you. Libraries exist to share physical, electronic and virtual resources and services and to provide guidance by caring professionals in a world of information that’s increasingly challenging to navigate,” said Susan Banks, deputy secretary for the Office of Commonwealth Libraries and state librarian. “Libraries provide the best return on tax dollars in so many ways – supporting all learners in their journeys to grow, achieve their goals and live successful lives. If you don’t have a library card, get one today. Libraries belong to everyone – and everyone belongs in libraries.” 

The library is an exciting place to be in, especially for creative, inquisitive individuals that want to know more about the outside world. If you love cooking, the library has you covered with its Culinary Literacy Center— an educationally driven program to change the way ‘Philadelphians think about food, nutrition, and literacy.’ 

Requirements for a library card

Obtaining a library card is quick and easy. If you live, work, pay taxes, or go to school in the City of Philadelphia then you are eligible to apply for a card— Free of charge. 

To get a card you can apply online, in-person, or complete a paper application by downloading the application from the library website. If applying online, you will get access instantly, giving you access to all the resources offered by the library. 

Depending on how you apply (online, in-person, or paper application) the requirements may vary slightly. I will focus on in-person application. You will need a photo ID and if below legal age, current school photo ID. For more information click here

Best part

Adults and teens (12 years old and up) can borrow up to 50 items. After that amount has been borrowed at once, no additional items can be borrowed until some or all are returned. There’s a 40 book limit at once, and 10 for DVDs and CDs. However, children under 12 years of age can only borrow 20 items at once. 

The Journalism Lab on Higher Education has compiled a Top 5 Journalism Books for College Students each title available for free at the Free Library of Philadelphia.

 

 

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