As students head back to school, we encourage parents to visit a Manatee County public library and make sure their children and teens sign up for the most important school supply of all -- a library card. September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when libraries across the country remind everyone that a library card is the smartest card you can own.
When it comes to achieving academic success, a library card provides students with access to print and online resources. Students can get online homework help and attend programs, activities and clubs that provide an added value to the educational experience. It's easy to see why 84 percent of Americans agree that the public library is important to education.
Library cards are also very important to lifelong learners, who use the library for everything from checking out books and movies to using online resources, such as OverDrive, to download eBooks or access the latest investment information or Consumer Reports ratings from the comfort of home.
To download eBooks or audiobooks, click on the OverDrive icon on the library's website. You can also use OneClickdigital to download audiobooks. Starting in September, drop by the library to receive directed help in using eReaders and tablets such as iPads in order to download materials from the library.
A library card opens the doors to people of all ages to pursue their personal interests. Is it bird-watching you're into? The library has it. Cooking pasta dishes? That, too. Learning about the environment and how plants grow? There's something in that topic for everyone from age 1 to 100.
There are plenty of other ways to enjoy the library: Join a book club, attend a family crafts program, get ready for that big test with Learning Express, learn a new language with Mango Languages, discover the history of Manatee County and view historic images online, see a new art exhibit, learn how to use an iPad or a Kindle, read a magazine, research your family tree, and learn (or teach) how to knit. And that's just a few of the many things the library offers.
This year, basketball player Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls serves as the Honorary Chair of National Library Card Sign-up Month. Deng is a two-time All-Star and noted for his humanitarian work in Africa. Visit the library's website at www.mymanatee.org/library to find out more ways you can love the library and what you need to get a library card. Also, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MCPLS.
The library offers monthly email newsletters, called NextReads, with a selection of genres from which to choose from; each lists several books, new and classics, as well as library events.
Sign up from the library website.