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September is Library Card Sign-Up Month

2010 September 20
by Christina Manz

Library Card Sign-Up Month asks the question: Why do some people not have library cards? September reminds us that the card-holding population of the community being served by libraries does not include the full population that could be served.

The Library Science Collection has resources to help you reach out to the non-library card holders. And speaking of signing up for a library card…any Texan can register as a borrower and request items from the Library Science Collection by using the LSC Request Form.

Running a Successful Library Card Campaign is an available title with diverse examples taken from a wide range of libraries across Texas. The proponents of these campaigns spell out the difficulties they encountered as well as their successes in overcoming common problems.

For libraries reviewing their policies to extend access to new and old card holders (policies regarding eligibility requirements for a free card, patron accounts suspended by unpaid fines, use of public computers, etc.), consider referring to the Public Library Policy Writer. This title can help you adapt established policies and write new ones specific to your library’s needs. Powerful Public Relations is a book to guide libraries in the art of public service announcements, publications and special events with the aim of making your library user-friendly from the potential patron’s point of view.

How Libraries and Librarians Help aids libraries in identifying user-centered outcomes for the services they provide. By determining the value of library services for its community, a library can set greater goals and show the results of how that community and its members have benefitted. When you set a goal of signing more people up for library cards, this book can help you tell a story about your library and its most effective programs. Tooting Your Own Horn covers surveys for need assessment, special events to promote reading and libraries, teacher outreach, and both print and online brochures and forms to communicate what your library has to offer. Once you determine your staff talking points, you can have your own top reasons why non-users should get the benefits of your card. Take a general list (10 Reasons You Should Get a Library Card during Library Card Sign Up Month, which can be turned into a 10 Reasons to Have a Library Card list to be used year-round) and make it specific to your library’s strengths and/or the population you’ve identified for outreach (Top 5 Reasons to Get a Library Card).

For books covering the development of library branding and card logos, check out Bite-Sized Marketing, (from Nancy Dowd of The M Word Blog) for marketing tips. It has a focus to overcome the “bad rap” libraries have with some non-users (What’s the Main Reason?) and doing outreach to connect with them. The Thriving Library is another title working with staff talking points, library branding and logo ideas that were taken from highly-rated libraries sharing their successful strategies.

For these books, other books on this same topic, or books on other topics, check out LSC catalog for the full catalog (new additions and reviews at LSC New and Recent Titles Added), or e-mail LSC with your questions.

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