Capital One at one point had a wonderful slogan, which simply asked "What's In your wallet?" The suggestion here was that if a person didn't have a personalized credit card from Capital One, their wallet would be missing something pertinent. Borrowing that idea for National Library Card Sign Up Month, libraries should be asking their patrons the same question: What's in your wallet? If a library card is not among the cards that they hold, now is a good time as any to get one. The recognition of the importance of holding a library card is not only a wonderful marketing tool but also advocacy. Looking for easy ways to promote library cards to your community? Read on, there's a few here to borrow or that might spark the imagination to try something totally new and creative at your library.
* The Suburban Library Cooperative in Michigan has gone to neighboring businesses asking them to support the local libraries by offering customers coupons, discounts or special offers just for showing their library card. In return, libraries will promote these businesses in their libraries as participants and encourage patrons to support these businesses. It's a win win situation which promotes building relationships within the community. This can only lead to good things.
* Orange County Library in North Carolina is celebrating NLCM by accepting one non-perishable food item, in return they will waive $1.00 in overdue charges. Patrons of the library will have the opportunity to receive free replacement Library Cards between September 16th through 30th. Another great idea to inspire communities to help others in need and support the library at the same time.
* Richmond County Libraries are offering children in grades 6-8 an opportunity to win an iPod Shuffle if they register for a library card during the month of September. New registrations will be entered into a drawing to win an iPod Shuffle. How's that for motiving young library users?
* Carlsbad City Library is celebrating with a Library Card Sign-up Festival on September 21. Children and teens come to sign up for their first card and receive a small prize. Children who already have their own card can show it off and receive a prize as well. Who doesn't love free gifts?
* Invite young patrons to create bookmarks that uses catchy slogans to encourage patrons to get a library card. For example: Don't leave home without it: Your Library Card. The most creative bookmark can be published and passed out to patrons and local schools.
Reminding schools, parents and public officials that the library is an important asset to the community is as simple as reminding them what they get from their library cards. Internet services, books, ebooks, cds, movies and much more. It is a better value than a Capital One credit card in many ways. A patron will not get a bill at the end of the month (provided they return the items), the "education" and "entertainment" gained belongs to the patrons, and it can be used again and again without penalty. In other words it's "priceless" Sorry MasterCard, it's better than your plastic!