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Lifka: It's back to school time at the local library

Community Voice

Students heading back to school also means they will be heading back to the library in Brookfield, McCook, North Riverside, Riverside and more across the country.

Coinciding with back-to-school time, September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month. During this month, Brookfield, McCook, North Riverside and Riverside public libraries join the American Library Association and public libraries nationwide to make sure students have the most important school supply of all – a free library card.

Others help out, too. The honorary chair of National Library Card Sign-Up Month for 2013 is Luol Deng, all-star forward for the Chicago Bulls. 

The Brookfield, North Riverside and Riverside libraries have planned special activities and promotions to celebrate the occasion.

You don’t have to come to the library to use your card. Depending on the library, students can use their library cards from home, too. Libraries offer access to educational resources such as eBooks, online homework help and online databases. Not all library cardholders can access all online databases. Access to some online databases is restricted to patrons of libraries that have subscribed. It is best to check with your local library for a list of online databases to which subscriptions have been obtained.

For example, students in Brookfield have access to, which provides live homework assistance; World Book Online, a trusted source for research projects; CultureGrams Online, which allows exploration of fun facts about countries and cultures worldwide; and many more online databases. In North Riverside, available databases include NoveList K-8 Plus, providing children and teen reading recommendations; Kids Search, where students can search various topics in books, encyclopedias, biographies and newspapers; and Grolier Lands and People, which provides information on countries and the various people, groups and cultures.  

Coming up later in September is Banned Books Week, an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Held from Sept. 22 to 28, it brings together the book community in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. 

Many public libraries celebrate Banned Books Week with special programs and activities. In North Riverside, a raffle will be held. Patrons will receive an entry to the raffle for every “banned book” they check out that week.

Robert J. Lifka is the director of the North Riverside Public Library

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