September is Library Card Sign-up Month

September is apparently Library Card Sign-up Month. Not that you’d know it by looking at the ALA website, or even looking at the specific page for this event. In fact, look at that page and see if you can even tell me what month sign-up month is. If the best you can do with a “news” section is something from two months ago, I’d say don’t bother with a news section. (now fixed, both things, how nifty!) ILoveLibraries does slightly better but their link to the ALA page is broken.

I signed up for a library card yesterday which was my eighth card of all the little libraries in my region. I also helped the librarian sign up for a blog and talked with her a bit about MySpace. [catalogablog]

1000+ library cards and counting…

Michael Sauers eat your heart out. I wonder if this kid has the best online database access in the world?

Welcome to the official site of the Great Library Card Collection. My name is Cory Peterson and I am the proud owner of this collection. I am 13 years old and I live in Suisun City, California. At this website, you may view scans of my library cards from around the world. Currently, I have over 1,000 library cards. [vtlibraries listserv]

hi – 28jul

Hi. I haven’t written one of these chatty updates in a while. There’s nothing like a sunny 80 degree day and a beckoning pool to keep you away from the keyboard. I’ve gotten three library cards in the last three months. That’s three in addition to the two I already have at local libraries and the two that I have at the LoC and the NLM. In any case, here’s a short blurb about them:

  • the most recent card I got from the Vermont Technical College which is part of Vermont’s Community College system and in fact maintains the central library for all of them. Any Vermonter can get a card there. They have free wifi in and outside the library and a good collection of books, magazines, journals, videos and even software.
  • I got a card at the Chelsea Public Library. Actually you don’t so much as get a card as register with the library. They write your name down and hand you a little slip with the hours of the library on it. Then you come in and say your number when you check out books. I am number 861. They have a great collection of history books, two computers with Internet access and a pretty good new book selection. I am hoping to teach comptuer classes there in the Fall.
  • I got a card at the Kimball Library in Randolph whose web site I have been working on this week. Usually a card there costs around $20 for non-residents but I got one because I’ve been working there as an AmeriCorps volunteer. They have four internet computers, two catalog-only computers and one of the loveliest libraries that I’ve seen in this state. I have a key to the front door and they let me use the comptuers to teach classes before the library opens. My students are in their 70’s and 80’s and are using mice for the first time ever.

There’s definitely a schism in the state between libraries that don’t charge at all and libraries that try to get out-of-town users to pitch in what the taxpayers pitch in at town meeting time. Rutland, where I used to work, charges $28/year for theirs. They let me keep my card there after I stopped working there until it expires in September. The good news is that the Department of Libraries has done some bulk purchasing of databases subscriptions so even the smallest libraries can have access to online information. They even have some pretty hot cross-searchable database interfaces if you know where to look for them. At my job I’m mainly teaching people the difference between right and left clicking, and trying to explain why buying something online requires clicking through 5-6 pages of data entry, but it’s good to know that as people learn more about this crazy online world that many people inhabit, there are tools waiting for them that, if we’re doing our jobs right, will only get easier to use.