Library Card Sign-Up Month

A library card is ELEMENTAL!

Get in Your Element this September—sign up for a library card! From borrowing books, ebooks, and museum passes to getting homework help, learning new skills, or attending story time, a library card helps you do more of what you enjoy. Get a library card and dive into a new hobby. Use your library card to tinker in a maker space and spark your creativity. A library card is your most important school supply—it's elemental, really—and everyone should have one!

"Elemental" characters Ember and Wade ride a scooter, as Wade brandishes a large Element City Public Library library card

Celebrate and Spread the Word

Library Card Sign-Up Month offers an opportunity to get involved with your local library and check out all the great services it offers your community. Here are a few ways you can celebrate and help spread the word about the joys of getting a library card.

Visit Your Library

Visit your library in-person or online to see what's new and take part in the celebration. Libraries across the country are participating. Do you have friends who don't have library cards? Invite them to sign up during September!

School librarian recommends a book to student at Thurgood Marshall Middle School

Help Spread the Word

Follow I Love Libraries on Facebook and Twitter and the hashtag #LibraryCardSignUpMonth to join the celebration on social media.

Sample social media posts:

  • Yay—September is #LibraryCardSignupMonth! Celebrate by visiting your library and getting your very own library card.
  • Make sure your kids have the most important school supply of all—a library card! Get one this September and kick off the school year right. #LibraryCardSignupMonth
  • Do you have a library card? September is #LibraryCardSignupMonth so get one today! Check out your library’s website to learn how you can access movies, eBook’s, video games and much more.
  • There is nothing more empowering than getting your own library card. It gives you access to technology, resources, and services to pursue your passions and dreams. #LibraryCardSignupMonth
  • Sign up for a library card and find something wonderful at your library! From storytime to audiobooks to DIY classes and more, there's something for everyone. Happy #LibraryCardSignupMonth!
What's Your Library Element? "Library" is spelled out as elements: Li (Literacy), Br (Bring a friend), Ar (Author talks), Y (Yoga)

How do you make the most of your library card? Do you love the library’s summer reading program, storytime, or book club? Checking out DVDs, magazines, or cake pans? Do you simply enjoy getting lost in the magic of a good book?

Show us how YOU library and you could win great prizes!

Merch and Downloadables

Library Card Sign-Up Merch

Imagine what you can DO with a library card! Spread the word about the endless possibilities of what a library card can help you DISCOVER and CREATE with our collection of Library Card merch.

Elemental Poster

In this new poster, meet Ember, a fiery young woman, and Wade, a go-with-the-flow guy, the two stars of Disney and Pixar's animated feature, Elemental. The film journeys alongside this unlikely pair living in Element City, where Fire, Water, Earth, and Air residents live together and where they discover something elemental: how much they actually have in common. In this artwork, an eager Ember and Wade are both about to get a library card and they invite everyone to follow their lead!

yard-sign-window sign-2

Show your library love with a window or yard sign

During political campaigns, yard signs abound. They're a great way for citizens to proclaim their support for a candidate or issue. Why not display a window or yard sign that proclaims your support for libraries. Use our templates or get creative and make your own.


Please visit ALA's Library Card Sign-Up Month Toolkit for more free tools and program ideas to celebrate in your local community.

Library Card Sign-Up Month is made possible with support from:

A black and white photo of several people standing on a stage along with someoen in a Garfield the Cat costume. A sign in the back reads "THe Best Gift You'll Ever Give Your Child: A Library Card"

About Library Card Sign-Up Month

Library Card Sign-Up Month first started in 1987 as a response to then Secretary of Education, William Bennett, who stated: “Let’s have a campaign … Every child should obtain a library card and use it.”

The American Library Association took Secretary Bennett’s words seriously and teamed up with the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) to start the campaign, with a grant of $85,000 from the Reader’s Digest Foundation. A telegram was sent to Secretary Bennett saying, “We accept your challenge.”

The first theme was “The Best Gift You’ll Ever Give Your Child … A Library Card.” Because of the Reader’s Digest grant, Library Card Sign-Up Month was advertised on over 500 TV and radio stations, along with 200 magazines. Packets of information and ideas were sent out to libraries to help the campaign gain momentum and to inspire librarians. Ideas included circulating a letter from the librarian, awards and celebrations, PTA recruitment, and joint sponsors.

October 14 was the kick off celebration for the campaign, held on the Mall in Washington, D.C., with 500 children in attendance. The event included remarks from Chisholm, Newman, and Secretary Bennett, along with story and craft time, and free pizza.

The following year September was declared Library Card Sign-Up Month. Since then, thousands of public libraries and schools have participated every fall, stressing the importance of obtaining a library card as a child’s most important school supply.

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