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Don’t have a library card? Here’s what you’re missing out on

A Schlow Centre Region Library card allows you to borrow materials from any of the public libraries in Centre County, as well as Penn State University libraries.
A Schlow Centre Region Library card allows you to borrow materials from any of the public libraries in Centre County, as well as Penn State University libraries. Photo provided

It’s a card with no contracts or fees. It’s a card that’s accepted in a variety of places. It’s one that gives you access to free items, without requiring any purchases.

It’s a public library card — and if you don’t already have one, September is a great time to sign up for a library card. This month is recognized as National Library Card Sign-up Month! Each September, the American Library Association and libraries nationwide join together to remind everyone about the benefits of having a library card.

“Getting a library card can certainly be a life-changing experience,” said Denise Sticha, executive director of the Centre County Library and Historical Museum, which has branch locations in Bellefonte, Centre Hall, Phillipsburg, and the Bookmobile that has more than 25 stops each month across Centre County. “We see the transformative effect libraries have in our customers lives so often. Whether it is our support for early learning and school readiness, for our help in navigating online information and services, or offering many programs and opportunities for lifelong learning and social engagement, libraries truly are the ‘people’s university.’ ”

Having a month dedicated to signing up for a library card started in 1987 when then Secretary of Education William Bennett said, “Let’s have a campaign ... Every child should obtain a library card and use it.” The ALA responded to that call and started National Library Card Sign-up Month.

This year, Disney’s the Incredibles are Library Card Sign-up Month honorary chairs, helping to promote the value of a library card and bring attention to the many ways libraries and librarians transform lives and communities through education.

Whether you sign up for a library card from Schlow Centre Region Library in State College or Centre County Library, the card allows you to borrow materials from any of the public libraries in Centre County, as well as Penn State University libraries.

“Schlow Centre Region Library welcomes everyone to State College,” said Schlow Library director Cathi Alloway. “Whether your home here is temporary or permanent, you are invited to use all our services!”

As of mid-August, Schlow had 34,110 library cardholders, and across the county, an additional 16,064 people had library cards through Centre County Library. And the holders come in all ages.

“There was a little girl who came up to the desk with her mom to get her own library card,” said Charlotte Getson, who works in Schlow’s patron services department. “She signed her name very carefully and jumped up and down because she was so happy. As her family was going out the door, she said to her mom, ‘It’s very exciting, isn’t it? I get my very own library card!” Definitely a life-changing moment!”

When a library cardholder enters a public library, they can check out and take home materials from the thousands of books, audiobooks, DVDs, games, toys and more. Materials borrowed from Schlow can be returned to the library or at one of Schlow’s six remote book returns, which are located at Brother’s Pizza in Stormstown, Clearfield Bank & Trust in Pine Grove Mills, Giant in the Northland Center, the Nittany Mall, Uni-Mart at Carson’s Corner and Weis Market on Rolling Ridge Drive. Patrons also can return Schlow materials to Penn State University Libraries, thanks to a partnership between Schlow and Penn State.

A library card also gives one access to a digital branch that is full of eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines and music.

Earlier this year, Schlow added a video-streaming service through Kanopy, which features more than 30,000 of the world’s best films and children’s programming. Cardholders can have four free video downloads each month.

As Sticha says, “A library card can open so many doors.”

To sign up for a library card and to see a list of events happening at Schlow Library, visit schlowlibrary.org. For information on Centre County Library and Historical Museum, visit centrecountylibrary.org.

David Pencek is communications manager for Schlow Centre Region Library.
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