The Challenges of Getting a Library Card
New trends and policies may limit access to library cards and resources.
This September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, and while the main intent behind it is to encourage people to get library cards, it’s also important to talk about the challenges that come with doing so. Normally, accessing a library card is a simple process, but in light of recent events, library cards have become much more restricted in how you can obtain and use them. So, what challenges are library-goers facing, and what can we do about them?
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Access to Libraries Is Changing
For better or worse, libraries are always changing with the times. Today’s libraries are becoming increasingly digital, so many library cards are no longer even physical documents. While this may be great for those who live far away from a physical library, it can potentially harm lower-income readers, who may not have the technology or internet connection to sign up for a digital card.
This isn’t to say that the digitization of libraries is a bad thing—far from it! However, we need to ensure that libraries continue to account for people with all levels of access to the library and that the experience they create is accessible to guests of all ages, abilities, and economic classes.
Troubling Trends Libraries Face
Of course, the libraries themselves often face adversity, which in turn affects cardholders and those looking to get a library card. For example, Americans, in general, are reading less and less as time goes on, leading to an overall decline in library traffic. When allocating a budget, government officials will notice this decline and may issue a budget cut to the library in question, further reducing its ability to function.
Unfortunately, the people affected by this are the visitors, as the library is forced to scale back its operations to account for the new budget. To combat this, we encourage you to continue visiting your local library and tell others to do the same, helping to preserve the library and turning it into an active community hub.
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New Policies Limiting Library-Goers
In addition, recent waves of censorship are profoundly affecting libraries and library-goers alike. With libraries being told to pull certain books from their shelves, they face a harsher challenge in making information accessible to everyone. Naturally, visitors will also have trouble accessing the now-absent information, causing important societal issues to go unnoticed and unmentioned. Be sure to show your support for your local library and take a stand against restrictive policies. This allows people to stay informed on the issues our society faces and creates a more welcoming environment for important discussions to take place.
Interested in learning more about the challenges libraries face and what you can do to help? Visit us at EveryLibrary today!
Visit www.everylibrary.org to learn more about our work on behalf of libraries.
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