Libraries Seek New Cardholders
HARRISONBURG — In celebration of the American Library Association’s National Library Card Month campaign, Massanutten Regional Library, Shenandoah County branches and area public schools are partnering to boost usage.
The library systems are holding card drives throughout September.
MRL will be handing out bookmarks with 32 ways to take advantage of the libraries’ resources starting Monday. The system also will offer coupons through the end of the month for a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut for children younger than 12 who show a personal or family library card, or sign up for one.
North River Library in Bridgewater is working with Ottobine Elementary School toward a goal of 100 percent participation at the school, thanks to Anita Richardson, a reading specialist at the school.
Shenandoah County Public Schools will be sending home sign-up forms to kindergartners and sixth-grade students to encourage their membership.
“We’re trying to get them at the beginning of elementary and the beginning of middle school,” said Sandy Whitesides, Shenandoah County Library System director.
If this year is a success, Whitesides said, the office hopes to replicate the program at the beginning of every school year.
In Shenandoah County, a library card is valid at any of the county branches: Edinburg, Mount Jackson, New Market, Strasburg, Fort Valley and Basye-Orkney Springs.
Most youth cardholders fall into the library’s elementary child range, ages 6 to 11, but Whitesides said children typically get their first library cards at 3 or 4, when parents bring them to special events.
“With the kindergartners, it’s more the idea that they’ve got a card and they get their parents to bring them in,” he said. “It also teaches them responsibility for the materials.”
Teen and adult summer reading program participation at Shenandoah County libraries increased by 25 percent in 2014, even though the program ran one less week than the previous year. Both the Strasburg and New Market libraries reached capacity for their summer reading programs, with an average of 100 attendees for their respective weekly events.
As part of card drive, the Edinburg library will hold a Reading is Royal event at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 16. Amid the crown-making, prince and princess storytelling, parents will be encouraged to sign up for library cards.
Details for upcoming events at the Massanutten Regional Library can be found at mrlib.org.
MRL has seven branches, including the main branch on South Main Street in downtown Harrisonburg and two Page County locations, Luray and Shenandoah.