September rolls around again, with a flurry of storms and a welcome temperature drop. Any day now the leaves will start changing; I peek at the trees each time I walk across the front lawn, waiting and hoping for glimmers of scarlet.
I’m also thrilled to see flocks of new students milling around Oakland. Inevitably that means that time-worn library questions will become fresh again, in the “beginner mind” spirit of welcoming new users. “Where’s the bathroom?” “How do I get a library card?” “Where do you keep your non-fiction?” It’s an exercise in mindfulness to remember that, although I’ve answered the questions over and over, they’re new to someone, every moment of every day, and especially in September.
As luck would have it, September is also National Library Card Sign-up Month. What a wonderful excuse to revisit the many ways a Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh card opens windows and doors, both literally and metaphorically. Peruse our list. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Whether the options are new to you, or gentle reminders of things you’ve always known, let them really sink in. Then, choose your own library adventure; we’ve suggested one for every day of this month, but feel free to double–or triple–up.
30 Ways to Use Your Library Card
- Download an ebook via OverDrive.
- Find answers to homework questions with free access to Tutor.com.
- Reserve any, or all, of the monthly fiction and non-fiction picks recommended by library staff.
- Sign up for a separate interlibrary loan account, to borrow books and materials from all over the country.
- Get to the bottom of that rattly noise underneath the hood with the Auto Repair Reference Center.
- Listen to your favorite classical music online, anytime.
- Access free career development tools like ResumeMaker.
- Get WiFi access–FREE!
- Check out your favorite magazines to read at home.
- Learn a new language without leaving home, with the help of the Mango Languages database. Parlez-vous français?
- Create your own style by searching for fall fashion ideas through fashion books and magazines.
- Research your family history for free in Ancestry.
- Win Summer Reading prizes (you’ll have to wait until 2012, but isn’t it nice to have something to look forward to?)
- Access two superior electronic company databases for job prospecting or business competitor information.
- Check out a DVD for this weekend’s movie night.
- Ask a librarian for answers via e-mail, text, or telephone (card required for account look-ups).
- Listen to streaming music and audiobooks.
- Read children’s books online in English, French, German or Spanish.
- Become a master chef with the help of our amazing cookbook collection.
- Plan your next weekend road trip with a plethora of travel books.
- Set up an e-mail account and e-mail your grandkids from a library computer with free internet access.
- Check out 50 books at one time (if you bring a wheelbarrow).
- Save money by researching purchases in Consumer Reports.
- Renew your library materials from the comfort of home.
- Get answers to those middle-of-the-night questions with 24-hour online chat reference.
- Go online to view tutorials on quilting techniques.
- Get discounts at Crazy Mocha coffee shops with your Donor Plus Card.
- Support your library with a small donation by purchasing a Donor Plus Card.
- Take a time machine to Pittsburgh’s past with materials from our Depository collection.
- Create Wish Lists and a Reading History in your library account.
This list, compiled by staff from departments all over the library, barely scratches the surface of all the wonderful things you can do with your library card. It’s a wonderful start, though, with plenty of incentives to sign up for a classic or Donor Plus card, if you don’t already have one. What’s your favorite thing to do with your library card?
proud library patron since 1978