TULARE COUNTY – The Tulare County Library wants you — and your friends — to book it to your local library to sign up for a library card.
In observance of Library Card Sign-up Month put on by the American Library Association this September, the Tulare County Library is hosting prize drawings that current and new library card holders can enter for free. Jose Ruiz-Garcia, a regional manager with the library for the Pixley area, said the library is focusing on the “sign up” aspect of Sign-up Month this year.
“Library Card Sign-up Month is a national celebration of libraries, but more specifically it’s all the things you get access to with a library card,” Ruiz-Garcia said. “At Tulare County Library, we feel it’s incredibly important for communities to have free access to everything we offer.”
Library card holders can enter the drawings from any branch library through Sept. 30. All anyone needs to do to enter is present their library card to a staff member, check an item out from the library or sign up for a new card.
Current card holders who refer someone to get a library card will receive an extra entry into the drawing, so long as the new card holder lists the referral’s name when they sign up, Ruiz-Garcia said.
Winners of the drawings will receive a prize bundle geared toward book and library lovers, including a tote bag, a library-branded drink tumbler, a page holder that allows for one-handed reading, book marks, tea bags, socks and an Amazon gift card “to hopefully help build up your personal library,” Ruiz-Garcia said.
The library allows card holders to check out books, audiobooks, ebooks and DVDs, gain access to online research databases, newspapers, printing and the internet and hosts events, book clubs and literacy programs. Ruiz-Garcia said one program that he loves at the Tulare County Library is the “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program.
According to Ruiz-Garcia, the program is to promote early literacy in children, because studies have shown that kids who have read 1,000 books before entering school are much more prepared for the classroom environment. The library has reading logs, each with 100 books, that children can work their way through. For each log a child completes and turns in to the library, they get a prize.
“This can go on from ages 0 to 5, and if they read all 1,000 books, we give them a backpack of their choice filled with school materials,” Ruiz-Garcia said.
Going beyond what is expected of most libraries from an informational aspect, Ruiz-Garcia said the Tulare County Library likes to consider its library branches as a communal space more than anything else.
“All libraries work to provide a welcoming atmosphere for people to gather and learn or to connect with each other … or have a moment’s peace with a good book or brand new show,” Ruiz-Garcia said.
With 17 locations across Tulare County, Ruiz-Garcia said the libraries are also special because each location is so unique to its community and the people it serves. A storytime event at one location could be completely different in feel from a storytime event at a different location because of how each library branch adapts to the town, he said.
The same goes for the Tulare County Library staff, which Ruiz-Garcia said is his favorite thing about the library system.
“The people who choose to dedicate themselves to libraries are so diverse, so unique and come from so many different backgrounds,” Ruiz-Garcia said. “Everyone has something new to teach … (and) they lend a voice to the library that represents what our patrons want or like.”
For Tulare County residents who live in an area without a library branch, the Pop Up Tulare County program offers a bookmobile that library patrons can request to make regular visits to their area or to visit a special event. The bookmobile offers library items to check out and has other services, including internet access and literacy programs, that are offered at branch locations as well. Ruiz-Garcia said the bookmobile can also make library cards for people on the spot.
Library patrons should visit the Tulare County Library website for more information on how to request a visit from Pop Up Tulare County or to find where the bookmobile will be next.
Obtaining a library card is free and only requires a photo ID and proof of current home address. Anyone wishing to sign up for a library card should go to a branch location, open Tuesdays through Saturdays, to fill out an application. Anyone under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian present when they submit an application.
Contact the library at 559-713-2711 for more information on how to sign up for a library card.