The Smartest Card in Your Wallet

Time for a shameless plug: September is Library Card Sign-Up Month! Be sure to add registering for a library card to your back-to-school shopping list.

We just dropped our son off at college this week, and you know what I'm the most envious about?  That he's going to school in Boston, which gives him access to the Boston Public Library!  He's our third child in college, and they're all good readers, but even so, I've encouraged all of them to visit their college town's public library and apply for a free card. Public library collections are very different from college library collections, since the colleges need to cater to a specific audience - namely the professors and students - focusing their collection on materials that can supplement coursework.

Years ago I worked at the Durham Public Library in Durham, NH (home to the University of New Hampshire), and one day two young ladies walked in, obviously new students at the school. They looked around the small magazine reading area, taking the entire library in in a few glances. Back then the library (now in it's own gorgeous building) rented space in a storefront of a strip mall and the staff did their best with the tiny, odd space. We had a magazine reading area up front by the store window, a children's area and public computers spread across the middle of the room and a small staff area in the back of the storefront.  Bookshelves holding the various collections were cleverly arranged throughout to divide up the spaces. Usually we'd get visitors who would come in, look around and then compare it to the big, beautiful library in their home town or places they went on vacation. But these two girls looked around, sighed, and one said to the other, "Oh, yeah. That's more like home."  Our tiny library was familiar to them, a haven of normalcy in their big, unfamiliar college territory.

What's in your wallet?


-Yvette, Library Director