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Love, the Library Way

Pink card with hearts reads: You can check me out anytime.

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 cardIf vintage valentines are more your style, then check out the collections on display from the archives at the Hagen History Center in Erie, Pennsylvania. The center is giving the public a look into the tradition of exchanging valentines with its new exhibit, "100 Years of Love and Friendship." "It just shows the progression of the commercialization of valentines," Pauline Stanton, Hagen History Center's reference assistant for the library and archives, told the Erie Times-News. "Each of these reflects the wording of that particular era to express your love for somebody."

The 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.

Kelli Foster, public service coordinator at Bluffton (Ohio) Public Library (BPL), found a treasure trove of classic valentines while helping her parents sort through personal artifacts. “We opened up an old cigar box, and I’m like, ‘Oh, my word,’” Foster told The Courier. Inside the box, Foster found more than 50 Valentine’s Day cards dating back to the 1940s when her dad was a boy. Foster said many of the cards were sent to him from cousins.

One card features a little boy and girl singing from a book titled “A Love Song,” with a message that reads: “Please listen to my song, and you will never rue it; I want you for my Valentine, Oh! Please say you will Du-Et!” Another card features a boy piloting a helicopter with a propeller that spins. The greeting says: “Just airing my thoughts, Valentine! Please be mine.”

The cards will be on display at BPL throughout February.

And 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.

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!

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.

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