LIVIGNSTON, NJ — The team at the Livingston Public Library is reaching out to Livingston parents to remind parents to add a library card to their long lists of back-to-school items. September is National Library Card Signup Month and the Livingston Public Library is celebrating by offering free Minions stickers every time a child uses his or her library card in September.

As parents set out this month to purchase new clothes, pens and pencils, binders and notebooks, the Library team says the library card is not only that supply that will last the longest but is also the most versatile. In one fell swoop, parents can give children of any age the many resources they need to build on their classroom learning and help them do their best in school. The Friends of the Livingston Library are optimistic that these children might even get in the habit of reading books that are not part of their schoolwork.

"When I was a child, my library card was my most treasured possession. It had my very own name stamped into it; all I had to do was show that card to the librarians and they let me take home all the books I wanted,” said Youth Librarian Gina Vaccaro. “Pure magic in the eyes of an eight year old. That magic is very much alive in the Livingston Library today."

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The American Library Association celebrates Library Card Sign-up Month every September, as a time when libraries across the country remind parents that a library card is not only an easy and free way to explore interests but also an essential school supply. A Courtesy card is also available to anyone who works or goes to school in town.

“In addition to being a great place to find books, Internet access, homework help, and fun educational enrichment programs, the Library is one of the few public spaces left where children as young as 9 years old can explore their own interests independently,” said Reference Librarian Ariel Zeitlin Cooke. “They mingle with kids from other neighborhoods and schools, and develop safe, nurturing relationships with adults outside their families.”

With a Livingston library card, students can borrow books for reading and research and are also give the opportunity to use free databases with newspaper and magazine articles, test preparation books, encyclopedias and many other items for homework help. According to the Livingston Library, two available resources that can be especially useful are Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) and Learning Express Library. Both are online, with links from the Library homepage, livingston.bccls.org, where both students and adults can use their Livingston library card to sign in.

Gale Virtual Reference Library has more than 2000 e-book titles for research, including biographies, sports, science, countries, American and world history, and more. Middle school and high school students can read, download or listen to articles or chapters from the e-books. Learning Express Library has online lessons, e-books, and sample tests for elementary, middle school and high school subjects. There are also sections to help improve reading, math and study skills.

Another available online resource is World Book Web. From the “Super Home Page,” users can go to different sections. Early World of Learning has games and activities for preschoolers. For Kids, Info Finder, Discover and Reference Center go from elementary school up to adult. There’s also a Timelines page where users can search the timeline in a subject or create their own timeline.

According to Cooke, the youth services department is flooded throughout the school year with children seeking a combination of refuge and adventure. Cooke said the team’s goal is to make every child who enters the Livingston Library feel that they are in a place where they can completely be themselves.

"Getting a library card is a special event in a child's life,” said Vaccaro. “I've seen parents wait until their children were old enough to appreciate the experience so they could remember the day they signed up for their own library card. Today, parents take pictures and post them on social media to celebrate the occasion."

An added bonus to having a Livingston Library card is that it can be used at 76 other libraries that are members of the BCCLS library consortium. Roseland, West Caldwell, Millburn, Maplewood, West Orange, Montclair, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield and Nutley are the other Essex County members. For more information visit the library in person or go online to livingston.bccls.org.