(Photo by Jill Bock, Staff)
The Sikeston Public Library is again joining the American Library Association in Library Card Sign-up Month. Officially, the month begins Sept. 1 but the library staff is already checking out those checking out books to ensure their cards are up to date.
To be eligible for a free card at the Sikeston Public Library, individuals must live within the city limits of Sikeston, or within the Scott County portion of the Sikeston R-6 school district. These cards are renewed once every three years. People living outside of these boundaries may purchase a card for an individual or family at a minimal cost and the cards are renewed annually.
Ron Eifert, assistant library director, said their are more than 12,000 patrons listed in the library's card file. "Actually we keep patrons in the system even if they haven't checked out a book recently and their cards have expired. That way when they use the library again, we don't have to start from scratch," he said.
For those living outside the Library's service area, library cards can be purchased at a cost of $15 for an individual for a year or $25 for a annual household membership. "It really is a bargain," Eifert said, noting it would cost at least that much to purchase one hard-back book.
To apply for a library card, individuals should bring in a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license or military ID, along with something showing their names and current address, such as a recent bill, rent receipt, etc. Children must be 5 years old to have a library card in their own names, and a parent or legal guardian must apply for the card on the child's behalf.
He pointed out that in addition to books and magazine, Sikeston Public Library users have access variety of materials such as the computers for Internet access and e-mail.
There is also a student/senior citizen rate of $12 annually. According to Eifert many of the out-of-town students attending Three Rivers Community College or Southeast Missouri State-Sikeston take advantage of the library under the student program.
"There are others, such as those who home school their children, who make use of our resources as well as some individuals chose to buy a Sikeston Library card because our late evening and weekend hours are more convenient for them," Eifert said.
As for patron Mary Carr, who once worked for the local library, being a card holder is a tradition. She said she has a Sikeston Library patron for over 15 years.