by Connor Kennedy, Adult Services Librarian, Ives Main Branch
With National Library Card Sign Up Month occurring this September, you may find yourself wondering (if you don’t already have one), why should you get a library card? Well, I am here to tell you why you should have one, and just how easy it can be to do so.
The New Haven Free Public Library, as you may know, offers an immense number of publications throughout our 5-branch system. Whether you are looking for the newest bestseller, the latest Nutmeg award winner, or a classic that has withstood the tests of time, there is a good chance that you can find it somewhere within our collection. From non-fiction to graphic novels; the latest fiction to cookbooks; Wonderbooks to young adult novels; you can find a wide array of publications in our branches.
Library patron Ashley S. said:
“I enjoy browsing the new fiction and nonfiction section at the library. I’ll spend most of my time when I first arrive to get ideas for what kind of book I’m interested in checking out.”
Meanwhile Jerald, who had just acquired a new library card, said that he loved our non-fiction collection and being “old -fashioned” he loved to come to the physical location. Though, you may always browse for any such book of you choosing within our library’s walls, with a NHFPL card, you can check books out and be free of the building’s confines-to read in any setting you like!
Every now and then, you may come across a book that is not readily available. If this is ever the (albeit unfortunate) case, then there are some simple fixes we can implement if you have a library card. For example, if the book you are looking for is held at one of our other library branches, then all we have to do is put a hold on it using your account, and within a couple days’ time, you may pick the book up at a branch of your choosing. If by some chance we do not have the book in our collection, as a last resort, we can possibly obtain a copy through Interlibrary loan (ILL).
Now, you may think to yourself, “Yeah, I may be able to get that book in a few days from the library, but I can get it just as quickly through an online ordering service such as Amazon.” Well, the amazing thing about checking out materials with your library card, is that unlike acquiring a book or DVD from Amazon, checking out an item from the library is 100% free of charge (with no more late fees either)!
Other than checking out printed materials, there is still so much that you can do with a library card. For example, as soon as you enter the library, if you have a library card, you can sign into a computer, without the hassle of asking for a guest pass. You can register to learn how to use the equipment we have housed in Ives Squared area such as our 3D printers, laser cutter, vinyl cutter, carvey, and cricut. Michael Z., a library patron visiting our Tinkerlab in Ives Squared, said, “The library is my most favorite place to create.”
In addition to books, we have a large collection of audiovisual materials such as DVD’s and CD’s, including material for children and items in other languages. You can even check out numerous unique items, such as chromebooks, hotspots, board games, and cake pans (did you know that we had cake pans?)
Although the NHFPL carries traditional physical items, just as libraries have done for decades past, we offer so much more through our digital resources. In fact, according to a study from the American Library Association, 30% of adults preferred e-books over physical books, an increase of 5% since 2019. With the NHFPL, once you have created an account with the library, you may access e-book databases such as Hoopla, Overdrive, Freading, or the offerings for children like on Scholastic’s Bookflix. Just recently, the NHFPL joined the Palace Project. Within a minute, you can download and sign into an app on your phone that will combine both our Hoopla and Overdrive collections, as well as an extensive list of titles from the Connecticut State Library into one convenient app!
In addition to our e-book collections, you can also access other valuable digital resources with your library card. If you are on the job hunt, or just trying to better yourself professionally, you can access LinkedIn Learning. If you are trying build a non-profit, you can access Foundation Directory Online and GrantWatch. Even if you are just trying to catch up on the latest news, you can access publications such as the Wall Street Journal for free. Perhaps you may be interested in audiovisual offerings that are available to you digitally-with the NHFPL’s subscription to Kanopy, you can access a vast catalog of media without having to worry about a monthly fee. From documentary feature films to classics, and a large collection of foreign language films, they can all be accessed with your library card for your viewing pleasure.
Now you may be wondering how to obtain a library card and just how easy is it? You can sign up for a library card at any of our branches in just minutes! Bring with you a photo ID and something else with your address for an adult card. For children and teenagers under 18, a parent or guardian would just have to sign the application as well. Once you have done that, you now have a library card for the next 3 years. You can then explore any of the buildings within our system, free to check out whatever may catch your eye, or explore our offerings remotely from the comfort of your own home. If you would like access to our digital materials, but don’t want to check out books, you can also get an E-Card that is valid for 1 year.
Having a library card opens a doorway to new possibilities, for both continuous learning experiences and your own personal enjoyment. Not only that, but you also join a larger community where you can interact and grow alongside other NHFPL card holders. Whether it is sharing something you read, took part in, or learned, you have now opened the doorway to new adventures! So why not visit your nearest NHFPL branch to start your new journey and #GetLibraryCarded today?
P.S….If you sign up for a library card, why not also participate in the American Library Association’s #GetLibraryCarded promotion, for a chance to win $100! (running from September 1-23)