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Boone, Story County libraries share resources for National Library Card Sign Up Month

Sara Jordan-Heintz
Contributing writer

A library card gives you access to more than just books. In recognition of National Library Card Sign-up Month, area libraries talked about all the ways a library card can connect you to databases, entertainment, homework help, genealogy resources, how-to guides and more.

“Libraries are not just book repositories," Nevada Public Library Director Shanna Speer said. "While we love helping people find good books, and have found new ways to do that during the pandemic, libraries are also places for people to gather and find community. People can find information representing both sides of an issue at the library or through library databases. Library programs open up a world of ideas and discussion to its community.”

Started in 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month has been held each September to coincide with the beginning of the school year.

“At our library, even an infant can get a library card,” Ericson Public Library Director Jamie Williams said. “We really encourage parents to sign their children up for a card. The Friends of the Library have been putting together baby packets to new moms at the Boone County Hospital, to encourage parents to read to their babies.”

With a library card, patrons can access thousands of digital resources, such as eBooks, downloadable audiobooks and magazines via the Libby or the Overdrive app. Bridges has over 100,000 items.

You can work on foreign language skills through Transparent Languages (about 100). HelpNow is a learning platform, and Gale, a compressive resource tool, offers information that is easily searchable.

For people who don’t have a library card, the Ericson Public Library in Boone is offering a digital kind. To apply visit www.boone.lib.ia.us then click on “Search Catalog,” then “My Account” and register. The library will review the registration information then give you the proper login information after it has been submitted. You can also go in person to obtain a library card by providing a form of ID with proof of current address.

If you don’t have a library card, the Nevada Public Library is offering a Limited-Use card online.

Ames public library.

The Nevada Public Library quarantines returned library materials for a period of seven days.

What this means for patrons:

  • Items that you return will still show as checked out on your account for seven days after you return them and you may receive notifications that your books need to be returned or are overdue. However, books in quarantine do not accrue fines.
  • Items you place on hold may take longer to be available for you, if the item was checked out when you placed the hold. Every item is still processed the day it comes out of quarantine.

“There are many things you can do online through Ames Public Library, including signing up for your library card,” Community Relations Specialist Jillian Ocken said. “Once you sign up, you can start using it right away for e-books, streaming videos and other online resources.”

An Ames Public Library card allows you free access to premium online resources including: BrainFuse tutoring, Consumer Reports, language learning, resume help, test prep guides and more.

Colorful Books , Clipping Path , 3d render

Ames Library patrons are not allowed to walk around the building and browse for materials on their own. Instead, you must place requests for items online, using a library card, and the items are placed on hold. The library’s lobby is open for you to pick up items you have requested including books, educational tablets for kids, and more. Held items are organized in alphabetical order by the last name of the person requesting. Wi-Fi hotspots are also available. Library staff keeps the lobby stocked with popular items in “grab bags” for all ages. A face covering is required, hand sanitizer is available, and bathrooms are open.

“The Library has also set up a physically-distanced computer lab with printers,” Ocken said.

Ocken said that anyone who has lost a physical Ames Public Library card could come in for a free replacement card in September.

The Ericson Public Library is offering curbside pickup for patrons who do not feel comfortable coming inside the building. It remains open, with staff asking patrons to wear masks and social distance. Only the outdoor drop box is available for returns. Computer usage is limited and tables are spaced. All items touched are sanitized before being re-shelved.  

The Ericson library is also offering free adult and children’s crafts with supplies able to be picked up at the library, with the tutorials then offered via Zoom at designated times. There is no cost to participate, the supplies are free, and you do not need a library card. Some additional crafting supplies, such as glue, you will need to provide on your own.

The Nevada Public Library is offering curbside pickup only, with patrons only allowed in the building for computer usage, by appointment. Folks needing to have documents copied, faxed or printed may speak with a library employee via phone or curbside for assistance.

All area libraries have moved to online programming since the pandemic, with links posted to social media and on their websites. These include author talks, kids storytime, book recommendations, book clubs, watch parties, and more.

“A library card is a cost-effective back to school supply,” Williams said. “You get free access to educational apps, virtual homework help and technology workshops.”

The Ames Public Library, 515 Douglas Ave. in Ames, may be reached at 515-239-5646. The Nevada Public Library, 631 K Ave. in Nevada, may be reached at 515-382-2628. The Ericson Public Library, 702 Greene St. in Boone, may be reached at 515-432-3727.