By Heather Regula, Correspondent
Early on, libraries were non-circulating, and since publications could not be checked out, there was no need to have a system that identified members or tracked books. As libraries evolved into a circulatory system, the need to identify patrons who were allowed to borrow books, and to connect them with the borrowed items, did as well. At first, this identification process, tracked by hand in a ledger, consisted of each borrower having a page that listed the books borrowed and returned.
Systems for tracking members and borrowed books have changed over the years. The first library cards had spaces where the date borrowed, date due, and date returned were recorded. The advancement of technology over the years contributed to the continued improvements to the book borrowing process. Automated and machine-assisted systems sped up the process and ultimately led to the creation of the library card as we know it today. The library card serves as a method of identification and facilitates the recording of library materials that are checked out and returned.
The Lena Armstrong Public Library, established in 1899, is offering patrons the unique opportunity to vote for a design they would like to see on the new library cards.
“About 40 people of all ages submitted drawings of design ideas for a new library card. The entrees were narrowed down to 21 finalists, and now people have the opportunity to come in and vote for the design they would like to win,” explained Lauren Gommert, Children’s Library Clerk. “It’s so exciting to see the kids’ faces when they come in to vote! We do a contest like this every few years, and the winning design will be featured on the new library cards.”
Ballot voting is done in person at the Lena Armstrong Public Library during regular business hours. For more information about the library visit http://www.beltontexas.gov/departments/library/index.php or call (254)933-5830. The library is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.