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THE LIBRARY LOOKOUT COLUMN: The Gift of Literacy

Have you seen the new iPhone 12? iPhone 12 Pro? iPhone 12 Pro Max? iPhone 12 Mini? How about the new Fire Tablet, Echo Dot, Echo Show, iPad Air or Apple HomePod Mini? Are the new AirPod Pro wireless earbuds on your list this season?

Sara Hahn

The options this year for tech gadget gifts are in no way limited, and might even be overwhelming. If the tech itself isn’t pricey enough, then you need to stock up on all of the accessories that make the gift complete. Charging cables, wireless pads, docking stations, MagSafe compatible accessories and more, there are so many options that can break the bank.

If you’re giving or getting the gift of gadgets this holiday season, make sure not to leave the gift of literacy out of your stocking stuffer stash. When it comes to accessorizing that new tablet, phone or home system, don’t forget that a free library card will fill your iCloud or Google Drive full of movies, music, books, magazines and more, and never cost you a dime (or a bitcoin).

To sign up for your very own all-access pass to the plethora of entertainment available through your local library, the requirements are simple. You can either take the contactless route and apply online through the “Apply for a Library Card Today!” link on our website and have the card sent to you in the mail, or stop by one of our library locations to get instant access.

If you’re a resident, property owner, teacher or student in the Stanly County Schools system, your card is free. For an out-of-county resident that doesn’t meet the above requirements, there is an annual fee of $35 for individuals or $50 for families. Anyone 5 or older is eligible for a card, and the opportunities for accessing resources are virtually limitless. With our online library through the Libby and NCDigital Kids collections, you have access to the resources not only purchased by our library system but by the library consortium as a whole, as we pay into those subscription services for you annually.

Quarantine or not, there is always so much to do, and it’s easy to find that time has gone by and your list of “Want to Read” keeps growing, while your list of “Read” hasn’t moved. With a quick login with your free library card to the Libby app on that iPhone, you can pick up where you left off with your audiobook and listen with those AirPods while washing dishes, or play it through your Echodot while setting the table. Wish you could hear the traditional tale of “The Night Before Christmas” read aloud while your family wraps gifts? Just ask Siri to connect you to the NCDigital Kids library and settle yourselves in for a long winter’s nap.

This holiday season, while visions of new tech gadgets dance in your head, remember that your public library is here for you and more accessible than ever before. Connect with us virtually 24/7 through social media, our website and your library card-connected apps, or join us in person to gather titles in the traditional print format. However you connect with us, grab a book, cozy blanket and that ever-growing “Want to Read” list, and check it twice; it doesn’t matter to us if you’re naughty or nice.

Currently Reading: “Temptation Ridge” by Robin Carr

Picture Book Highlight: “Click, Clas, Ho! Ho! Ho!” by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin

Sara Hahn is the Children and Youth Services Librarian of the Stanly County Public Library in Albemarle. You can reach her at shahn@stanlycountylibrary.org or the Albemarle Library at 704-986-3758.