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Back to School with the Smartest Card

The most important back-to-school supply for students is free!

Paper. Pencils. Markers. Notebooks … they are part of the long shopping list facing parents helping their children get ready for another school year. But, the most important school supply of

all is absolutely free, lasts for years and is more valuable than all the other supplies combined … a Library Card.

September is Library Card Sign Up Month, and Charleston County Public Library is encouraging county residents to sign up for a free card – adding it to every child’s school supply list and to every adult’s wallet or key ring. This nationwide campaign is held each September to promote signing up in conjunction with the start of school. Studies have shown that children who are read to in the home and who use the library perform better in school and are more likely to use the library as a source of lifelong learning.

In an effort to reach students as they enter school for the first time, the Library specifically targets Kindergarten classes to encourage registration. In 2007, more than 2,500 local Kindergarten students received their first Library Card from Charleston County during the September campaign.

As an added incentive this year, the Library is adding a “Show Me the Card” promotion, encouraging children 11 and under to visit their branch’s Children’s Department and show their Library Card. Each time a child shows their card, they will be entered into a drawing to win a $10 bookstore gift certificate. Entries are limited to one per day, and a winner will be drawn at each of the Library’s 16 locations at the end of the month.

Adults registering for a Library Card during September will receive a $2 Booksale Bucks Coupon that can be used during the Friends of the Library’s BookFest 2008 set for Oct. 10-12 at the Gaillard Municipal Auditorium. Also during the month, current cardholders who have lost their card can get a free replacement, a service that normally costs $1.

In Charleston County, students can get help from a Reference Librarian through the Library’s Ask-A-Question reference service by visiting a branch, calling 805-6930,
e-mailing askaquestion@ccpl.org, texting a question 
or sending an instant message. The system’s Reference Librarians answer more questions each year than any other public library in the state – with nearly 2 million questions answered last fiscal year.

The Library’s Web site also offers Homework Help under Services for Children and provides free access to dozens of reliable reference databases in its Resources section, many of them available remotely simply by logging in with a Library card number.

Charleston County Public Library has more than 1.1 million books, nearly 100,000 DVDs and videos, more than 2,300 magazines, newspapers and periodicals subscriptions, about 45,000 audio books and music CDs, nearly 175 electronic subscriptions and databases, plus hundreds of public use computers at the system’s 16 locations.

Based on the most recent state comparison of public libraries services during FY07, Charleston County Public Library had the highest annual circulation (3.36 million), the most visits to a branch (1.98 million), offered the most public programs (4,270) and attracted the highest program attendance (116,320).