Literacy is a blessing often taken for granted. Reading is essential in our daily lives. Navigating through the world without being able to read or write is challenging and is a blockade for experiencing so many things
September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, a national campaign to emphasize the importance of library cards to a child’s education and to combat illiteracy. The campaign first started in 1987 as a response to then Secretary of Education, William Bennett, who stated: “Let’s have a campaign … Every child should obtain a library card and use it.”
The American Library Association took Secretary Bennett’s words seriously and teamed up with the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) to start the campaign, with a grant of $85,000 from the Reader’s Digest Foundation. A telegram was sent to Secretary Bennett saying, “We accept your challenge.”
The first theme was “The Best Gift You’ll Ever Give Your Child … A Library Card.”
This year Marley Dias, author, executive producer, and founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks, is joining the American Library Association and libraries nationwide in promoting the power of a library card this September.
As honorary chair, Dias wants to remind the public that signing up for a library card provides access to technology, multimedia content and educational programming that transforms lives and strengthens communities.
“A library card provides opportunity for discovery and access to a rich and diverse world. It empowers you to make change and experience new stories,” said Dias.
There’s nothing more empowering than a library card. Through access to technology, media resources and educational programs, libraries provide people of all ages the opportunity to pursue their dreams and passions.
Additionally, International Literacy Day takes place on September 8 every year to raise awareness and concern for literacy problems that exist. Can you imagine navigating modern-day life without the basic ability to read and write? Wiping out illiteracy in every local community around the world is what International Literacy Day is all about. Although much progress has been made in improving literacy rates in the more than fifty years since the first International Literacy Day, illiteracy remains a global problem. Some of the ways this program is promoted are: students and employed people volunteer to tutor children in the community, books are generously donated to libraries, and a student’s tuition and learning are sponsored to launch their life-long success.
Institutions and government and international organizations campaign for literacy at the grassroots level, as well as host think tanks and discussion forums to strategize and implement the best policies for the eradication of illiteracy. They also host fundraisers for the cause. A theme is set every year which is used as a way to build awareness around specific issues.
And we, as library lovers, can take part in promoting Library Card Sign-Up in September by volunteering and sharing to social media about how the library empowers us.