As a part of Library Card Sign-up Month, the Sherman Public Library is inviting all Shermen elementary students to visit the library and distant worlds through reading.

As a part of this initiative, the library has joined with Sherman Independent School District to distribute card applications to students in the elementary level throughout the district. The applications will include all the paperwork needed to sign up along with a letter encouraging parents to visit.

“I think this gives children a chance to choose their own books,” Library Services Administrator MeLissa Eason said about library cards. “Assigned reading in school is great, but there is something up a book of your own that starts developing a love for reading.”

Students who sign up throughout the month will be rewarded with a pencil bag with pencils along with their own library card.

“This is because a library card is the most important school supply of all,” Eason said.

The idea for the campaign came as a part of wanting to expand on the American Library Association’s campaign to expand library membership. Library Card Sign-Up Month was first recognized in 1987 in response to then Secretary of Education William Bennett’s calls for increased outreach to youth.

“September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries nationwide join together to remind parents, caregivers and students that signing up for a library card is the first step towards academic achievement and lifelong learning,” the organization’s website says.

Eason said that encouraging reading at a young age can help set up students for success throughout their education and into adulthood. By reading, students can learn important skills including research and critical thinking.

She encourages parents to start reading with their children at a young age, even through picture books as a way of setting the groundwork for future reading fundamentals.

“A lot of parents will just hand their children their phone and you don’t know what kind of content they are getting,” she said.

The Denison Public library is also celebrating September by having library card forms and other materials on display. The library has also partnered with the Denison Independent School District to distribute applications through school libraries.