Its National Library Card Sign-up Month and we have work to do. If you have a child or you know of a child who does not have a library card, it’s time to get them signed up for one. If there’s no library card in your wallet, you need to get signed up, too.
I’ve always loved libraries. My parents took my brothers and me to the library often when we were kids. It was most likely because with five boys, anything you can do for free was a no-brainer.
As a teen, I spent more hours at the Fairfield-Suisun library than I did pumping quarters into video games at the Gold Mine in Solano Mall.
When I first started this column way back when George H.W. Bush was president, researching a column was a much different process. If I wanted the most basic facts on a given issue, it meant a trip to the library. It meant accessing newspapers, magazines and books. Tracking down specific information on a given subject was often a needle-in-a-haystack proposition.
While the Internet has replaced those trips to the library for me, it still plays a huge role in my brother Tony’s “Back in the Day” articles. In addition to talking to longtime Fairfield residents, the library is where he heads to find information as well as photos depicting the history of Fairfield.
When I first took my grandson Vika to get a library card, he reacted the same why I had many years earlier. He was amazed that with a library card he could get books, CDs and movies and take them home free of charge.
Study after study has shown that reading to a child gives them a head start academically. Reading can help close the gap between children living in poverty and middle- and upper-class students. I attribute Vika’s high vocabulary and reading comprehension scores on his last STAR test to his early reading.
There’s no reason a child shouldn’t have a library card. The Solano County Library has a Read Away Fines program, where kids locked out of using their cards due to fines can gain credits against the fines by reading in the library. It encourages reading and accountability. How awesome is that?
Of course, everyone knows someone who . . . gasp . . . doesn’t like to read. It may even be you. But get a library card anyway, because there’s music, movies, magazines, newspapers, free Wi-Fi and for commuters, there are audiobooks. When you pop in that CD and have someone read to you, it makes that Bay Area commute zip by.
I’ve used the word “free” several times in this column, but technically, libraries aren’t free. Like most things, they’re paid for with your tax dollars. So why not use our library system since you’re paying for it whether you use it or not? Get your money’s worth.
Visit www.solanolibrary.com for tons of information on programs for kids, teens and adults, such as the Adult Literacy Program, featured events and more. There’s no excuse for not having a library card. Peace.
Kelvin Wade is the author of “Morsels” Vols. I and II and lives in Fairfield. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.