When it comes to heading back to school, it’s important that your child have all the tools needed to start off the school year. So between trips to the store for glue sticks, markers and three-ring binders, did you remember to stop by your library and pick up the most enduring school supply of all – a library card?
“The library card is the smartest card in my wallet,” said Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng, honorary chair of Library Card Sign-up Month. Deng appears in print and digital public service announcements from the American Library Association reminding parents and children that a library card is the most important tool in achieving academic success.
Expert help: Not only does Solano County Library have books for parents and children to take home and share or read on their own, it has librarians to help locate specific items for every age group and on any and every topic imaginable. And being able to use all of these wonderful materials is free to the card holder.
Connectivity: Nationally, about 30 percent of all students do not have home access to the Internet, yet nearly 96 percent of school districts require students to use the Internet to complete their homework. Solano County Library is a hot spot for free Internet access. The library also provides students free access to databases of news articles, encyclopedias and test preparation materials, as well as online homework help and study resources.
But a library card isn’t called the “smartest card” just for kids. It has many advantages for adults, too.
Car troubles? Get exclusive photographs, wiring diagrams, maintenance schedules and more. The Chilton auto repair online library provides decades of data for do-it-yourself maintenance of automobiles and light trucks that you can access with your library card.
Job hunting? Learn to look for jobs online, format a resume, ace an interview and research scholarships and careers using Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center database. Prepare for entrance exams and certification tests by taking practice tests and tutorials online using Learning Express Library. You can access both with your library card.
Subscription overload? Avoid a pileup of old magazines with Zinio, the world’s largest newsstand, offering full color, interactive digital magazines for your enjoyment. Browse from Solano County Library’s collection of popular titles online with no holds, no checkout periods and no limit to the number of magazines you can download with your library card.
Need a new fridge? Read expert reviews and get independent product advice for home or office when you access Consumer Reports magazine online with your library card.
Is your Kindle empty? Overdrive Library to Go allows you to enjoy titles from a growing collection of new and popular fiction and nonfiction on your computer, e-reader or smartphone with your library card.
Visiting a museum? Get free and discounted passes to local museums and cultural institutions through Solano County Library’s Discover & Go website with your library card.
Wi-Fi. Absolutely free. For those of you who like to settle in for some quality work, studying or reading without having to fork over $5.99 or more for a latte and a muffin, bring your laptop to the library or login to our public computers with your library card.
Ask a librarian. These people are trained to research and find answers to all of your most probing questions completely free of charge, and most of them get a real kick out of doing it, even when you don’t have a clue where to begin or how to ask for what you want. You can reach them online, by phone or in person. Sorry, Google, you don’t even come close. I’ve asked librarians for help more than once in my professional life, and their support seems like a gift from above every time!
It’s time to sign up for the smartest card you can have – a library card. And for more ideas on how to use your library card, visit www.solanolibrary.com or visit your local Solano County Library branch.
Yvette Klemm is a library associate at Solano County Library.