Sign up for a world of possibilities

Published 7:44 pm Thursday, September 3, 2009

September is National Library Card Sign Up Month.

If you don’t have a library card, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities. True, less folks are reading these days. That’s a shame because reading takes you places you never dreamed you’d go and helps you get through those places if you’re lucky enough to get there.

Walk through the place and you’ll see enough fiction to meet some taste, from the thrillers of Johnathan Kellerman to the old Westerns of Zane Grey or Willa Cather.

If fiction doesn’t meet your needs, there are plenty of tomes in the non-fiction area to get you going on various subjects, from religion and philosophy to political science to self-help books to how-to books.

The how-to books have come in handy more than once.

Say you want to peruse the branches of your family tree. There’s a spot for that at the library.

A lot of people searching for historical records call The Selma Times-Journal to find a back edition from a certain year. The library’s reference section gets most of those calls because it is the official repository of our archives.

If you get a card (and you will want the card just for this if you look up a lot of things), you can qualify for the Alabama Virtual Library, a service through the public library that will give you access to articles in magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias, almanacs, academic journals and dictionaries from all over the world.

The AVL is a popular tool here at The Selma Times-Journal. It helps us research topics and break them down, so we’ll have background to give our readers more information.

The library isn’t just for adults. Children have their space.

Recently, First Cahawba Bank worked with the folks at the library to create a study space for middle- and high school students. The space has several computers that allow students to research and write in a quiet setting. The Teen Technology Center, as it’s called is open from 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays and from 3-6 on Mondays and Thursdays and 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

High school students, grades 10-12, may use the Siegel Lab computers. Students in the sixth grade and under must use the computers in the Children’s Department.

Computers are available for everyone inside the library during regular business hours. The machines are loaded up with the Webcat Card Catalog, Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Powerpoint.

But there’s more.

The library is a setting for myriad programs.

Lunch at the Library, a lunch and talk for a small fee, is one of the more proular programs the library offers. Lunch features an Alabama author or an author with an Alabama connection all through the fall and spring. The price is right — a lunch. Plus, if you’re building up a library, think of the signed editions you can have.

For those of you who have a library card and haven’t used it because your books are way overdue, take heart. The library will forgive fines this month in exchange for canned goods.

If you don’t have a library card, go by and get one. Tell them your community newspaper sent you.