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MADISON, WI -- September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month and Madison Public Library is celebrating with a number of activities and celebrations throughout the month. 

Library Card Sign-Up Month is a national campaign to emphasize the importance of library cards to a child’s education and to combat illiteracy. The campaign first started in 1987 as a response to then Secretary of Education, William Bennett, who stated: “Let’s have a campaign … Every child should obtain a library card and use it.” On August 27, 2021, Governor Tony Evers made a proclamation in recognition of Library Card Sign-up Month this September. 

Library locations expanded hours to full service on Tuesday, September 7, offering more flexibility and additional times for people to come into the library and get a new card or renew their old one. A library card from Madison Public Library provides access to thousands of physical and digital books, online databases, DVDs, CDs, records and more. 

“We want everyone to take advantage of Madison’s wonderful libraries,” said Greg Mickells, Library Director. “Libraries have something for everyone, and are important centers for community activity, from voting to computer use to engaging with others through art, events, or visiting a library.” 

During September, large library cards will be available at each library location, as well as the Dream Bus, for visitors to take photos with. Celebrate Library Card Sign-Up Month and share your photos online using the hashtag #WeReadMadison and tagging @MadisonPublicLibrary on Instagram and Facebook or @MadisonLibrary on Twitter! 

Madison Public Library has been promoting literacy this year through a partnership with Forward Madison FC. The library’s Dream Bus has been attending select Forward Madison FC home games to share library materials, celebrate We Read and get people signed up for library cards. Soccer fans will have an opportunity to get signed up for a library card inside the stadium during the game on September 11 or at the Dream Bus before the game from 5-7 p.m. Large library cards will be available for selfies and a green screen photo booth will be up featuring the We Read in a Flock image. Share your selfies using #WeReadinAFlock on social media!

“We are focused on investing in our community and we see supporting Library Card Sign-Up Month as a way to do that,” said Connor Tobin, the Community Engagement Manager at Forward Madison FC. “When people are empowered and given resources that allow them to grow and learn, that benefits everyone in the community. It goes beyond just supporting literacy for us.”

Madison Public Library will be attending numerous community events to help sign people up for library cards this month, including:

  • Forward Madison FC Game | September 11 | Breese Stevens Field, starting at 5 p.m. at the Dream Bus outside and continuing inside from 7 p.m. through halftime.
  • Madison Night Market | September 16 | Downtown Madison
  • Educator Resource Fair | September 18 | Pinney Library, 2-4 p.m.
  • Live Well @ Your Library | September 19 | Central Library, 1-4:30 p.m.
  • Dream Bus | Various locations

While libraries were closed for the pandemic, Madison Public Library created some new ways to apply for a library card. Madison residents can now apply for a library card online and kids who attend Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) schools can apply for their own library card for the first time using just their student ID online. (Applications for the student card are limited to online, as information is verified by MMSD and then sent to students in the mail.) 

“We are incredibly excited to have this collaboration with the Madison Metropolitan School District. Being able to apply with just your student ID and being fine free eliminates many of the barriers for youth in terms of being able to access the public library independently,” said Rebecca Millerjohn, the Youth Services Librarian who helped facilitate this new library card option.

Visit to apply for a library card online.

About Madison Public Library
The Madison Public Library's tradition of promoting education, literacy, and community  involvement has enriched the City of Madison for more than 145 years. Our nine locations throughout the City of Madison are open six days per week and welcome over 1.9 million visits each year. For more information, visit, @MadisonPublicLibrary on Facebook and Instagram, or @MadisonLibrary on Twitter.