PCPL celebrates National Library Card Sign-Up Month

photo by Laura McFarland

Lauren Patterson and her daughter Poppy return books to the library.

As part of Library Card Sign-Up Month, Powhatan County Public Library is reminding the community what a benefit that little piece of plastic can be for people of all ages.

The local library is once again joining the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries nationwide for, a time to remind parents, caregivers and students that a library card is the first step toward academic achievement and lifelong learning.

A library card opens a world of infinite possibilities through resources and services that give students the tools to succeed in school and beyond, library director Whitney Berriman said. From information access, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) programs, family story times and in-person or virtual homework help, libraries transform lives through education.

Libraries offer free and fun educational resources and activities that bring families and communities together. Powhatan’s library provides the community with literacy-based family programming such as story times and seasonal events. It is also a major proponent of educational opportunities, including documentary film screenings, performances, and traveling museum exhibits, she said. Currently, the local library has 15,018 cardholders.

“If they haven’t done so already, we hope that our Powhatan friends and neighbors will consider registering for a library card to gain access to all of the wonderful things the library has to offer. At PCPL, our library cardholders are very important to us and we’re continuously working to improve the services we offer.”

Annual program collaborations such as the Powhatan Maker Fest and the summer reading program have served to strengthen the library’s relationship with important community partners such as the Powhatan Cooperative Extension Office and Powhatan County Public Schools.

Libraries play an important role in the education and development of children, she said. Studies show that children who are read to in the home and who use the library perform better in school and are more likely to continue to use the library as a source of lifetime learning.

“Our library programs serve patrons of all ages,” Berriman said. “For younger children, we offer early literacy resources and story times to help them learn to read and to encourage school readiness. For teens and adults, we offer technology classes and access to continuing education through GED and online services such as Universal Class and Rocket Languages via Find It Virginia.”

Find It Virginia is comprised of databases supported by federal funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and curated by the Library of Virginia, she added. Access to the databases is free to PCPL cardholders

This year, the Honorary Chairs of Library Card Sign-Up Month are Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story characters Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Bo Peep and friends. In their role, they will promote the value of a library card and bring attention to the many ways libraries transform lives and communities.

After moving to Powhatan from Midlothian in December 2018, Lauren Patterson said she immediately applied for a library card and intends to make sure her children understand its value. The mother of two – Poppy, 2, and Joie, 6 months – said she found out about the local library’s strong story times and summer reading program and that they have toys the children can play with that are different from what they have at home.

“This library in particular does a really good job of providing programs that get kids excited about the books and excited about characters in the books,” she said.

Patterson added she wants her daughters to know that there are so many books available for them to read and they can explore a wide variety of topics.

“It’s awesome to have a wide selection of books to chose from that we can read and exchange. Poppy likes to pick out her own books,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what the book is about. She can read books about dinosaurs or princesses or ballerinas or ninjas. Books are for boys and girls and we like to have fun reading together.”

Since 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month has been held each September to mark the beginning of the school year. During the month, the ALA and libraries unite in a national effort to ensure every child signs up for their own library card.

For more information about how to sign up for a library card, visit Powhatan County Public Library in person or online at www.powhatanlibrary.net.

Laura McFarland may be reached at Lmcfarland@powhatantoday.com.

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