Wonder Woman makes a case for Library Card Sign-up Month
Shazam! Pull out your library card, and you have superpowers.
“It's the power to explore other worlds with only your mind,” says H. Ralph Vartan, CEO of The Vartan Group.
“A library card gives us the superpower to learn and gain knowledge on anything our hearts desire!” says Renee Yemane, president of Harrisburg Young Professionals. “With your library card, a big, exciting world awaits inside The Library, where endless rows of books are at our fingertips, ready to teach us anything we can imagine.”
September is Library Card Sign-up Month, and the American Library Association (ALA) snared a true spokes-hero to advocate for the power of library cards. Wonder Woman herself – co-founder of the Justice League, peacemaker with the strength of a warrior, wearer of wicked-awesome bracelets – is spreading the word about the power of library cards.
“Armed with the Lasso of Truth, Wonder Woman makes a perfect ambassador to support the value of learning and the role libraries play in transforming lives and strengthening communities through education,” said the ALA in announcing the exciting partnership.
Fans of Dauphin County Library System remember those moments when The Library opened worlds of wonder for them. As a kid, Vartan was a genuine “super user,” visiting the East Shore Area Library so frequently that he was checking out books for second and third reads.
“It was a portal to worlds of endless imagination,” he says. “It’s like the old-fashioned version of going down a Google rabbit hole. In the ‘80s, it was getting lost in the stacks of the library.”
Like Vartan, Yemane was a denizen of the East Shore Area Library. She was lucky, she says, to have a mom who stressed the importance of reading and visiting The Library. She remembers her excitement at getting her first Library card – “my first real experience with having a card in my name that I could use to get something.”
“I could look through the aisles of children’s books to check out a few that sparked my interest,” she says. “I developed a love for reading and excitement around visiting The Library.”
Clint Cullison remembers encountering new thoughts and meeting children from other schools at his library.
“You were exposed to more people than just your bubble,” says the senior associate of government relations at Greenlee Partners. The father of three boys, ages 5, 3, and 1, is now introducing his children to the wonders of The Library.
“My oldest likes to go to The Library and look around at the books,” he says. “He’s in an exploring mode. He likes dinosaur and dragon books. He’s really into nature books, and my middle child likes to do whatever his big brother is doing. We’ve got a small library at home, but certainly, it pales in comparison to what The Library can offer.”
Today’s libraries “go far beyond the books,” Cullison adds. With their library cards, members can access databases for their research and get help from Library staff, “skilled researchers who are very useful at pulling together information.”
Plus, as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts schooling, libraries are increasingly crucial for families who lack internet access or educational resources.
“The libraries are going to play a more important role, so those folks don’t get behind in their education process,” he says.
Today, Yemane and her husband take their young daughter to The Library to check out books and enjoy storytimes.
“A welcoming, robust Library is an incredibly important resource in a community,” she says. “Our libraries are places where individuals and families can gather around the concept that knowledge is power. Our libraries are a safe environment for our children and a place where we can go to have fun, explore, and learn. What a beautiful treasure.”
Vartan always loved pulling out his library card. Even if he lost his card, staff members were “always so cool about it.”
“I have always prided myself on being a card-carrying library member,” he says.