The surprising lessons of a library card

Look in your wallet today and it’s likely stuffed with loyalty cards, bank cards, coffee cards and hopefully a little spare change. But can you remember what your very first card was? Most adults will say a library card.

I loved my first library card. It opened the door to a world of fantasy and facts, as well as cassette tapes (anyone else remember borrowing those?) and a chance to discover book characters who are still friends today.

Nowadays, a library card gives you access to a huge range of free resources including books, magazines, DVDs and toys. There is even an eLibrary where books, audio books, movies, music and magazines are all available to download or stream from home.

But, aside from access to a wealth of free resources, a library card is the first card your child will ever own with their name on it. The card is theirs and with that comes a great opportunity to teach responsibility and many other valuable life lessons.

Keeping important documents safe

You can’t borrow anything if you’ve lost your card! Owning your own library card means you must be responsible for keeping that card safe, along with looking after the items you have borrowed. Plus every little one has a wallet or purse just like Mum or Dad and want items to put in them.

How to be a good borrower

Borrowing only works if you return the items, so a library card teaches kids to respect the return dates, whilst also empathising with the other children who are waiting patiently for you to return those items safely.

Accepting consequences

Lost a card? Returned items late or damaged? These actions all have consequences that will teach your child responsibility and accountability.

Choosing wisely

With huge shelves of books and DVDs to choose from, a library is a treasure trove of resources for kids. But you can’t borrow everything! A library card requires kids to learn moderation and develop decision-making skills.

A sense of belonging

A library card gives kids a sense of ownership that the library is their place, full of things just for them which can be borrowed with their own card. This in itself is huge for little kids and important in developing confidence, literacy skills and ensuring they feel part of a community.

Did you know? Around the world there are…
349,662 public libraries, with 5,418.1 million visits per year, and 1,029.2 million members

Sunshine Coast Libraries have…

  • 10 branches including 2 mobiles
  • 111,217 members
  • 1.4 million visitors per year
  • 2.2 million items loaned per year
  • 800+ programs for children per year with over 30,000 people attending

By Karen Gawen, Young People’s Services Supervisor from Sunshine Coast Council

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