The wonderful world of education, information, entertainment and access to technology are just some of the perks of holding a card to visit and use one of the six branches of the Garfield County Library District.
For the remainder of September, card-holding patrons — new or renewing — can also take advantage of numerous business-sponsor promotions from Carbondale to Parachute.
September is National Library Sign-Up Month, in conjunction with the American Library Association. This year’s theme is “Lasso a Library Card — Libraries are Wonderful,” in honor of DC Comics superheroine Wonder Woman.
The goal for the Garfield County Library system is to get 2,000 new or renewed library cards during the campaign. More than 25 local businesses and organizations have signed on as sponsors, offering various discounts to anyone who shows a valid library card during the month.
“Every year we try to get a certain amount of new sign-ups, and this year we decided to get our business community involved,” said Kat Coco, library specialist with the Silt Branch Library.
This year in particular, with the increase in online services offered by the libraries and given the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on businesses and schools, the district has signed up numerous people from outside the area and several patrons who are new to the area, Coco said.
Former patrons are also rediscovering the libraries.
“We had one person come in whose card had expired in 2012,” Coco said. “It’s just like a new signup, we’re just updating the information.”
With people looking for more things to do during the COVID restrictions, a lot of patrons are turning to resources such as Hoopla, Canopy and RB Digital for online movies, e-books and even comic books — including Wonder Woman, of course.
“More people are also using our book stacks and our computer services,” Coco said.
Once response by the Garfield County Libraries during the pandemic, and with more people turning to online platforms for video conference meetings and educational materials, was to offer wifi hotspots that can be used anywhere for immediate internet connection.
“That’s been really great for people, especially in places where internet service isn’t as good,” Coco said. “You just turn it on wherever you are, and it works.”
Many young people have also begun using the libraries more to access online education curriculum and homeschooling programs, she said.
“We have several students who come in regularly to study,” she said, adding that distancing protocols are in place and patrons must wear masks while in the libraries.
Those who sign up for or renew their library cards this month can also receive free Wonder Woman schwag, including keychains and pins.
The Garfield County commissioners even got into the spirit of things last week, proclaiming September as “Library Card Sign-Up Month,” with a special emphasis on signing up youth.
Sign up online for a library card at garfield.marmot.org/MyAccount/SelfReg. A list of businesses participating in the promotion is available at www.gcpld.org/content/lasso-library-card.