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Love, Library Style

vintage valentine from New York Public Library

Show your valentine how much you really care by sharing with them your love of libraries and books!

An estimated 145 million valentines are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday behind Christmas, according to the Greeting Card Association. The selections available are vast, from cards professing sincere proclamations of love to those on the more humorous side. (Who can forget Lisa Simpson’s “I Choo-Choo Choose You” card for poor Ralph Wiggum?)

Surprise the bibliophile or librarian in your life with a library-themed valentine’s card from your friends at I Love Libraries! Whether your feelings are romantic or platonic, these cards are the perfect way to spread the love to that special someone—while also proclaiming your love of libraries. Feel free to share on social media or print them to give to your loved ones in person.

Old-Fashioned Love

Vintage valentines cardThe Newberry Library in Chicago has a large collection of vintage valentines, originally collected by Andrew McNally III (1909-2001), of the Rand McNally family.  A lifelong collector, McNally amassed more than 300 cards—most of them American, British, and German—dating from the mid-1800s to mid-1900s. In 1991, he donated his collection to the library.

The Rosenberg Library Museum located inside the historic Rosenberg Library in Galveston, Texas, recently displayed 22 vintage valentines dating from 1818 through the 1920s that it holds in its collection. Visit their website to see a few of them—including a lovely pop-up valentine from Germany—along with a fascinating history of valentine cards.

Who can forget the incredible collection of valentines in New York Public Library’s digital collection? The 89 cards feature everything from ornate displays of hearts and roses to winged cherubs playing badminton with floating hearts. You can even download them to send to your sweethearts on February 14.

And if you'd like to experience a real trip back in valentine time, check out this archival footage from WLWT5 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Originally broadcast in 1979, it follows reporter Pat Ratterman as she explores some vintage valentines from 1833–1929 in the collection at Cincinnati-Hamilton County Public Library. There are some real gems in the bunch.

I Can’t Believe It’s Fabio…

IfFabio t-shirt t-shirts emblazoned with Nineties icons are your love language, I Love Libraries’s favorite literary clothing aficionados Out of Print has you covered. They recently released t-shirts emblazoned with the American Library Association’s famous READ poster featuring the ultimate heartthrob Fabio holding a copy of Peter Benchley’s novel, Jaws. Available in unisex and women’s sizes, these shirts are the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. What better way to tell the special person in your life that you really care about them than by giving them the gift of Fabio—on a shirt, of course!

Of course, ALA has a ton of swag that can let you show the world how much you love the thing that we all love here: libraries. At the ALA Graphics store you can find everything from t-shirts to totes to mugs. We particularly dig the vintage tattoo-themed gear, complete with the classic heart design!

And if you’re really feeling the library love: Donate to the American Library Association, which supports our nation’s libraries and library workers in providing access to information for all.

Subscribe to the I Love Libraries newsletter! You'll get monthly updates on library news, advocacy updates, book interviews, book info, and more!

Image: From the NYPL holiday card collection.

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