BOONE — This September, Appalachian Regional Library, which includes the public libraries in Ashe, Watauga and Wilkes counties, is joining the American Library Association and libraries nationwide for Library Card Sign-Up Month, a time to remind everyone that a library card is the first step towards academic achievement and lifelong learning. This year, Wonder Woman is the Honorary Chair of Library Card Sign-Up Month.

Libraries offer free and fun educational resources and activities that bring families and communities together, many of which are virtual this year. Some examples include virtual family story times via Facebook, book clubs via Goodreads and Zoom, and children’s and adult programs via Facebook Live. ARL provides a wide selection of reading materials to meet the needs of all ages. The libraries have internet access in the Adult and Youth areas and keep our Wi-Fi on 24/7. Test proctoring is also offered.

A card allows access to not only the Appalachian Regional Library system but also to N.C. Cardinal, a consortium of public libraries in N.C. dedicated to sharing through the use of one catalog. Items that may be borrowed include books, audio-books, music, movies and magazines.

Electronic materials available with a card include the following:

• N.C. Kids Digital through Overdrive — more than 30,000 unique e-books, e-audio and video titles for Kindergarten and up

• Overdrive — more than 3,000 e-books and e-audio for adults and young adults (Northwest Regional Library is accessible to our cardholders, too.)

• RB Digital magazines — no-hold access to more than 3,000 titles, no checkout limits and back issues available

• N.C. Live, an online collection of e-books, newspapers, journals, magazines, films, and more is available to all library card holders. If you are accessing these resources from home, you will need to select your library and enter your card number. Through N.C. Live you have access to a Homegrown E-books collection of more than 3,000 e-books from N.C. publishers including popular and scholarly nonfiction, novels by well-known N.C. authors and award-winning short fiction and poetry. Films on demand are accessible and many are taken from UNC-TV programming, BBC and more.

Get your library card and you will be automatically entered into a raffle for a prize listed below:

• Combo pass to Mystery Hill, The 1903 Dougherty House Museum, Native American Artifacts Museum and the Appalachian Fossil & Dinosaur Museum

• A climbing certificate at the Climbing Tower through Rock Dimensions

• Sky Valley Zip Tours tickets for two zip line adventures; one for the children’s Whistle Pig Line and one ticket for the Adult/Young Adult Line.

• A Foggy Pine Bookstore gift card

If you are a student attending a Watauga County public school, use your lunch number/student ID to check out up to 10 books or audiobooks with no late fees. This partnership with the schools is called StudentAccess.

The American Library Association invites you to show us your best superhero pose for a chance to win $100. Help spread the word by striking a library superhero stance with your library card and posting it to Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #LibraryCardHero. You’ll be automatically entered to win a $100 Visa gift card. Entries can also be submitted by posting as a comment or wall post on the I Love Libraries Facebook page. Don’t forget to cover up any personally identifiable information on your library card, and tag your library.

The raffle ends at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22. All librarians and library lovers are encouraged to participate.

For more information about how to sign up for a library card, visit Watauga Public Library, Ashe Public Library or Wilkes Public Library in person or online at www.arlibrary.org.

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