The Best Card in Your Wallet


The smartest card in my wallet.

September is National Library Card Sign-up month. The American Library Association (ALA) is promoting libraries this month.

The best card you can put in your wallet is your library card. You can buy things with a credit card but you still have to pay the bill. Plus interest.  You can buy things with your debit card, and get cash with an ATM card, but none of those cards are free.

Sign up for your library card today and start to explore your public library.

A library card gets you loads of cool stuff for free.  First and most important, you can get books for free.  If you are a bookworm with a voracious appetite like me, there’s no way you could afford to buy all the books you read.

Second and thirdly, you can get a wide selection of music CDs and Movies on DVD and VHS.  Yes, some people still have a VCR sitting around the house.

Lastly, libraries stock a wide selection of audio books.  This is great for people who have very little time to sit down and enjoy a book by a nice warm fire while drinking hot chocolate. Pick up the latest thriller, motivational book, or best selling business book on audio CD to listen to in the car on your commute.

I first “read” several classics on audio while driving back & forth to work. My favorites are Les Miserables, the Three Musketeers, Joan of Arc by Mark Twain.

I have five library cards, copies are displayed on this page. Click on the card to go to that library’s online catalog.

Each library has unique characteristics.

The Los Angeles Public Library has a great selection. Their branch locations are not that convenient to my home or office. Still, if there is something I want that other libraries don’t have, the Los Angeles Public Library will usually have it.  www.lapl.org


The card I use the most these days is the County of Los Angeles Public Library Card.  They have a great selection with a widespread network of branches.  The reason that I use them the most is that a couple of their branches are on the way home from work.  I can reserve a book using their online catalog and pick it up on the way home.

The Torrance Public Library has six branches (as seen on my card).  The Main Civic Center branch has three floors, including a basement full of CDs, DVDs, Magazines and books on tape.  They also have reading areas and study rooms that are often used by tutors of ESL and other subjects. A large meeting room is available for community events.

Redondo Beach has an impressive modern library that was built after the Northridge earthquake damaged the original library in Veterans Park.  They also have a large selection of audio books for adults as well as a good selection for kids.  There is a community room on the second floor that is sometimes used as a polling place.  Volunteers staff a small bookstore run by the Friends of the Library.  The store has a good selection of Mysteries, Literature, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, kids books, comic books, cookbooks and classics, all for very reasonable prices.  Stop in to browse and chat with the friendly volunteers.

El Segundo Public Library is my latest discovery and card acquisition.  This is pretty close to my office so I can stop by on my lunch hour.  They have a goodly collection of books for sale just inside the door.  More books are on sale in another room just off to the left of the counter.  They even have a paperback bookswap shelf run on the honor system.  You can bring a book and swap it with something else.

Do you have a library card?  How often do you visit your library?  What do you tend to check out?  Books? Movies? Audiobooks?  Music CDs?  Post a comment and tell us what you like the best about your local library.