Are Your Kids Ready for a Library Card?

Every kid I know has one, but mine don’t. They think they’re so deprived, but I’m happy depriving my kids on this one.

What, you may be asking, is it that my kids don’t have? Some electronic trinket? Something super-expensive? Nope. It’s actually something quite simple. My kids don’t have their own library cards. Are your kids ready for a library card?

Are Your Kids Ready for a Library Card

Why not? In our family, carrying a library card is a privilege that comes with responsibility. Because my children are not yet old enough to keep planners and haven’t shown interest in learning to use the library website (under my supervision) to keep track of items out and return dates, I keep all our materials checked out on my own card. In the middle of a busy homeschooling day, only having to check one library account is a golden time saver.

I’m confident my choice is beneficial for our family, but it is surprisingly controversial. I’ve felt the pressure to obtain cards for my children since my oldest went on a library field trip with his preschool class. I was supposed to send him with a completed library card application form. Guess what? I didn’t. Ditto for my next child when she went on the same field trip. I’ve yet to hear about the preschooler who is responsible with library return dates!

The biggest pressure to get cards, of course, comes from my children. Many of their friends – home, public, and private schooled – check out library books with their own cards, and my own children feel a little jealous. However, my goal in life and parenting is never to keep up with the proverbial Joneses, so they remain cardless.

Naturally, they won’t be cardless forever. I’m just waiting for a few clues to let me know that they’re ready for the responsibility of maintaining a library account.

They’re fully able to manage completing their school work. This includes not only homeschool work issued by Dear Old Mom but also assignments from their tutorial instructors. Until they can keep up with the daily responsibility of school work independently, they’re not ready for the added responsibility of keeping up with a library card.

They’re able to keep an organized system for due dates. I’m not a stickler for a specific method. Filing receipts chronologically with due dates highlighted, jotting down due dates on a planner, or another creative method they devise themselves are all fine with me.

Under adult supervision, they’re able to independently navigate the library website to renew items, verify dates, request books, and more.

So that’s my criteria for allowing my children to get their own library cards. What about you? Are your kids ready for a library card? Do you require that your children meet certain criteria before being allowed to have their own? If so, what are they? If not, why not? 


I am a devoted wife, mother of three great kids and, most importantly, a follower of Jesus Christ. I love long summer days, photography, and stealing quiet moments for writing. Connect with on my blog, Forever Joyful, or on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

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  1. Growing up I think I got a library card when I was about 10. It was exciting and a big milestone. I remember filling out the application myself, and having a little purse to store my card in. I’m waiting until my kids are older. I plan on enjoying those milestones so both parent and child get to cherish them and not rush into them too soon.

  2. Hmmm…. I don’t know. My youngest one has a library card – he’s 3 (as do the others). I keep track of things on the calendar and my kids do check our calendar to see what we’re doing for the day. Just marking “books due!” on a date does it for us. But hey, to each his own. 🙂

  3. Mine have their own cards. Ages 10, 8, and 5. The oldest two manage everything on their own. They have their library card numbers memorized. They navigate the website, request books from other libraries, etc. We visit every Tuesday. They take back what’s due or renew what they aren’t ready to return. They even help their 5 year old sister but she is learning too. The three of them usually have between 100-125 books out at a time and we rarely have more than 50 cents in late fines between the 3 cards and we’ve only ever lost 1 book. For my family if I give out a responsibility I find my kids rise to the occasion and meet or exceed expectations.

    1. I’m proud of your children for their diligence in maintaining their library accounts. I will probably get my eight-year-old a library card when he finishes his typing program and becomes more adept at using the computer, which I anticipate is just over the horizon.

  4. Those guidelines make a lot of sense. My kids each already have their own library cards, but only my 10-year old manages it by herself (our library has an app with which she is able to reserve her books and see what’s due). Thanks for this great perspective!

  5. My kids have had them since they were toddlers but we are extremely lucky that our library does not charge late fees or lost book fees or anything on items checked out by kids on kids library cards. However they can not check out books on cd or movies unless they have an adult with them and use the adults cards. I always tried to hold my kids accountable though and we had a special place to keep the books from the library and remind them that if everyone were to lose library books we wouldn’t have any left to use. I think we’ve lost one in all the years we’ve been going there. Not too shabby considering we usually have a whole box worth of books waiting for us to check out.

  6. My kids are always with me when they are checking out books, so there’s no reason for them to have their own card. Our library lets us check out unlimited books anyways, so they can still get as many books as they want. It’s a lot easier to keep track of when items are due back when you’re only looking at one account. That’s probably my biggest reason for just one card. We have a hard enough time getting books back to the library 😛
    When they are older and will be going to the library by themselves it will probably make sense for them to have their own card. Until then, it’s just one more thing to not have to keep track of. 🙂

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