September is National Library Card Sign-up Month. With school back in full swing, it’s a perfect time to get your child a library card as it can be one of the most important supplies in their backpack! This year’s honorary chair for the ALA is Stan Lee, the legendary comic creator.
“Having a library card it’s like having a key to all the information in the world. When you have a library card you can read anything about anything, and I have found that whatever you read, it doesn’t matter, it increases your fund of knowledge,” says Lee. “So a library card is the ‘Open Sesame’ to all the knowledge in the world.”
A voracious reader from an early age, Lee recalls that if it hadn’t been for libraries he could never have afforded all the books he wanted to read. This September, Lee encourages every child to sign up for the most important school supply of all, a library card – the key to knowledge and a life-long love of reading.
In our house, getting a library card is a reward for learning to read, so we take the kids to get theirs at the end of first grade. My kids love the honor and the little wallet that comes with it. It’s a huge deal for them!! We reached out to the Lake County Libraries to get their rules for getting a card.
How to Get a Library Card for Your Child
Most of the Lake County Libraries have the same basic rules:
- A parent or legal guardian must be on the account or sign the application. They usually need to be a cardholder at that library (in good standing) and are generally responsible for anything the child does or checks out.
- Two forms of ID are needed to prove residency in the district, and one must be a photo id (see suggested items at the end)
Below are the site-specific requirements for the individual libraries. Remember to always check with your home library’s youth service or circulation desk if you have questions about their policies or procedures.
Round Lake Area Public Library
Children must be Age 3 or older to get a card.
Children under the age of 14 must have a parent/guardian sign his/her application. Please contact the Circulation Department at (847) 546-7060, press 3.
Wauconda Area Library
At the Wauconda Area Library, children obtain library cards at any age. A child’s parent or legal guardian must reside in the Wauconda Area Library District and produce a current photo ID that verifies their address. During National Library Card Sign-up Month, children who show their library cards to the Children’s librarian will receive a drawing slip for a chance to win baskets containing books, DVDs, toys, crafts, and other fun items. They can enter the drawing once daily throughout the month. Additionally, children (and adults) who check out at least ten items per visit can spin the giant prize wheel at the Circulation Desk and win free books, coffee, tea, earbuds, coupons for Culver’s ice cream, and waivers for existing fines.
Cook Memorial Public Library District
Residents need to be 4 years of age to get his/her own library card. When the child signs up for a library card, s/he receives a library cardholder (which often doubles as a little wallet for kids), a certificate, and a book bag.
Whenever a child gets a library card, the staff makes a pretty big deal about welcoming him or her. Recently a mom who brought her little one in to sign up remarked about how pleased she was that staff made her youngster feel special; the mom still remembered the day she got her first library card. When I went to the Children’s Desk at Cook Park Library to borrow the book bag for the photo, one of the librarians quipped that she just might do a little Irish jig for a new cardholder. Truly, any child receiving their first library card will be met with a warmly enthusiastic response.
Lake Villa District Library
As far as kids getting their own card, the only requirement we have is that they can write their name–even their version of writing their own name.
The North Chicago Public Library
Children’s Library Cards are for children ages 6 -17 years old.
Grayslake Area Public Library District
Grayslake has no age limit, it is the parent’s decision when they want their child to have their own card.
Warren-Newport Public Library
WNPL says that a library card is the best thing in your wallet or school backpack!!! Their policy does not have an age restriction other than that the parent or legal guardian must bring in two forms of identification with the parent’s current address to verify residency. In other words, tiny people can get their first library card on their way home from the hospital after delivery! They also offer online card registration.
You know how much Little Lake County loves our libraries. Aside from providing great (FREE!) programming and storytimes, they are also a valuable resource for frugal entertainment for the whole family. According to the ALA:
libraries offer free access to important educational resources like online homework resources (96.5 percent) and educational programs, information sessions and training (99.5 percent), with content in virtually every school subject, including history, literature and science. In addition, over 89 percent of libraries offer access to e-books, while 39 percent of libraries provide e-readers for check-out by patrons.
Many of our local libraries are offering special rewards or incentives for getting your card this month, so if you don’t regularly visit your library, now is the time!
Suggested items for proof of street address include but are not limited to the following:
- Driver’s license
- State ID
- FOID (Fire Owners ID)
- Current bill dated within the past month (utility bill, credit card bill, etc.)
- Auto registration
- Bank book
- Recent report cards
- Voter’s registration
- Property tax bill
- Mortgage or lease papers
- Matrícula card
Regular mail such as advertisements, greeting cards, and letters are not acceptable to obtain a library card.
Do your kids have library cards? How old were they when they got them?