I know a gift that works just as well for those kids who have every toy known to man as well as those who don’t have two dimes to rub together.  The best part–it doesn’t cost a cent.  What is it?  It’s a library card and the knowledge of what doors it can open for your child.  This seems too simple, and maybe it’s a little sappy, until you realize that in many parts of the world a library card is far beyond the reach of all but the wealthiest. 

Is it something your kids are going to get excited about?  Nope.  But, we don’t know where our children will land during adulthood. The knowledge of what free tools are available to them can make a difference in their future.  Not to mention the fact that, if they feel comfortable in their library, they’ll always have a warm place to visit on a cold winter’s day! 
Kids with library cards can get free books in print, audio, and digital formats.  They can borrow movies or music and can use many databases through their library’s subscription services.  Here, in Virginia, they can get one-on-one homework help online for every subject in every grade and then when they need to practice for the ACT, SAT, or hopefully, the GRE, they can get help for that, too. 
When our kids are shuttled off into the world, out of the sphere of our reach, the library is still there for them.  They can get professional help editing their college papers, or help building their first resume. They can even get help finding a job, or keeping the one they eventually find.  And, when it comes to a new car, a new house, or even repair of that old fridge, the library is their friend.
The first step to all this is having a library card.   The second step is giving your child the opportunity to explore the treasures inside their library. So, this holiday season, remember the long haul and give your child a gift that will last their whole life.  Visit your library and give them a library card. — Dawn Heisel, Public Services Librarian