My First Library Card!

A photo of the My First Library Card bookmark in front of the tree in the Children's Section at Anythink Wright Farms.

I still remember the day I got my first library card. It was a hot afternoon in the summer, and we had gone to Bemis Public Library in Littleton to cool off. My sister was playing in the kids’ area as I piled up book after book on the counter, a towering mass of R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike, “The Baby-Sitters Club” and “Calvin and Hobbes.” The librarian, an older woman who had worked there for many years, leaned over and said, “I think it’s about time for you to get your own library card, young lady.” When I tell you my heart stopped… Up until that moment I had never thought of my own library card as a possibility – it was just something I used of my mom’s. Until that moment, adults were the gatekeeper of the books. My mom nodded yes, and a few minutes later I had a library card of my very own. I remember holding it in my hand, a shiny passport to freedom and all the books I could read in a lifetime.

It meant so much to me, as a kid, having something that was just mine.

This was the inspiration behind the My First Library Card initiative at Anythink Wright Farms. I wanted kids to experience that special moment, the opening of new worlds, driven by them. Getting your own library card is a rite of passage, just like First Communion, your first bike or getting your driver’s license. It’s a change that should be marked and acknowledged, and a kid should be made to feel proud – it’s a big deal! Here at Anythink, we want children to know that they are part of the larger library community. Children are very important to us, and the card marks that transition from passive to participant. The library is theirs, and all the books and information they can handle is now available to them. 

To celebrate this moment, we give out a little gift to the excited kiddos: a small pencil bag that keeps their library card safe, a bookmark for all the good books they are about to read, an Anythink pencil and sharpeners. The best part is a very special sticker that little ones can put on their shirt for the day. This sticker alerts staff that the kids have gotten their library card, and they react accordingly – with excitement! The idea was borrowed from Disney World, where if it’s your birthday you get a button, and every cast member who sees it says, “Happy Birthday!” The stickers themselves are super cute, and every kiddo gets an extra one that they can either put on their bag, a water bottle or wherever they want!

So far, the response to the My First Library Card initiative has been wonderful: parents are excited, kids are thrilled and librarians love the chance to connect more with our youngest members of the community. Like myself, so many years ago, we feel privileged to be a part of that magic moment where a child steps through the door to endless possibility.

The moment they step through a door to the library.