Check it out: September is National Library Card sign-up month

By Kathleen Chambless For Clay Today
Posted 9/15/21

CLAY COUNTY – The public library system is so much more than a collection of buildings full of books and librarians hushing you. They are vibrant community spaces and offer a wealth of resources …

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Check it out: September is National Library Card sign-up month

Posted

CLAY COUNTY – The public library system is so much more than a collection of buildings full of books and librarians hushing you. They are vibrant community spaces and offer a wealth of resources that are all accessible with a library card.

The Department of Education and the American Library Association have selected September National Library Card Sign-Up month in honor of schools reopening. Clay County Headquarters Library Director Karen Walker wants to shed some light on what exactly the library system offers, and why you should take part in a service you already pay for.

The library system comprises six different libraries across the county, which are accessible with only one card. That means, if you request a book from one library, you can pick it up at the library closest to you. In the pandemic, the library shifted many of its services to be contactless or self-service. All county libraries continue to offer that option with the kiosk locker system. With a library card, you can request material such as books, DVDs, CDs and magazines. They then placed these in a locker for you to pick up at your leisure, even when the library itself is closed. If you prefer to go inside and browse the library’s collection inside, feel free. The library system also offers self-checkout kiosks where you check out without having to speak to a librarian at the reference desk.

These traditional forms of media are not the only things you can access with the library. The Clay library system also offers free Wi-Fi throughout the library and its parking lots 24 hours a day. Mobile Wi-Fi smart spots are also available to check out for two weeks for those that need a reliable internet connection. The libraries also have Chromebooks available for anyone needing to complete work for school or business. If you’re looking for a quiet place to get some work done or meet with your club, meeting and study rooms are always available for reservation.

Students looking for help to research school projects or better understanding their classes can access the library collection of databases. ScienceFlix offers STEM education and project ideas. SalemPress provides hundreds of articles on health, psychology, and diseases. There are more than 60 databases alone in the Florida Electronic Library on many subjects where articles include citations that easily fit into a bibliography.

The county library system deliberately stocks multiple copies of summer reading list books. You can often find most of the books used in the classroom.

For those looking for entertainment amid the ongoing pandemic, the library has you covered. They have expanded many of their programs for children and adults. To name a few, they offer arts and crafts sessions, take-home projects, and story times. There’s even a pre-made book club meeting in a bag that includes reading questions and ten copies of the book.

There have been large a shift in popularity towards the internet. Many people of all ages prefer eBooks, audiobooks, and online magazines and newspapers. The library offers these through the Libby app, which is available on smartphones, laptops and tablets alike.

Beyond the physical services themselves, libraries represent the communities they serve. The Clay County libraries don’t just offer books, though books are an important and cherished resource they provide. They offer tech support, help in school, and adult resources for the community. They provide safe, quiet places to work without the requirement of purchase. Though some assets at the library are available without a card, it’s easy to sign up and access everything. Library cards are free for all Clay County residents. To get a card, you only need a valid Florida ID or Florida driver’s license. For more information or to use the library resources, please go to claycountygov.com/community/library or to your local library today.

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