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Hancock County Public Library Circulation Manager Cody Flood and assistant director Barbara Roark encourage county residents to
Hancock County Public Library Circulation Manager Cody Flood and assistant director Barbara Roark encourage county residents to "Get Carded" in September for national Library Card Sign-up Month. Over 20 local businesses have partnered with the library to offer discounts and other incentives to customers presenting new or renewed library cards during the month of September. (Jim Mayfield / Daily Reporter)

GREENFIELD — To answer the now-familiar question spawned by a national credit card ad campaign, “What’s in your wallet?”

September’s answer for Hancock County residents might be a library card.

“Your library card has always been the smartest card in your wallet,” said library assistant director Barbara Roark. “Now,it’s the most valuable.”

For the month of September –  which just happens to be national Library Card Sign-Up Month, a nationwide campaign launched in 1987 to get a library card into the hands of every child in the country – residents will receive perks and/or discounts from more than 20 area businesses if they show a new or renewed library card.

A bounty of benefits ranging from a free DQ Dilly Bar with a regular Dairy Queen purchase to special pricing and discounts at a host of county businesses ranging from Price Eye Care to Family Bike Chain will be available for customers when they flash their up-to-date library card next month.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have 21 businesses come on board for this,” Roark said. “There’s something for everyone. All you need is a library card, and one of the biggest things is that it’s local. It gives people the opportunity to shop local and stay in the community.”

Earlier this year, the library announced an ambitious goal to circulate 1 million items for the year.

That’s a lot of reading, downloading and moving watching, but programs like partnering with local business are a way to help everyone, leaders say.

“It helps us get closer to our million check-outs, so we get to promote ourselves and other businesses,” Roark said.

Debbie Wilkerson, owner of Wilkerson Dance Studio in Greenfield, said it was a great time for a new partnership with the library. The studio is waiving its registration fee for new students during the month of September in the promotion.

“We’re having our fall registration, so it’s perfect timing for us,” Wilkerson said. “We really enjoyed partnering with the library last year with a production of “The Nutcracker,” and we just wanted to be a closer partner with them.”

Working the library checkout counter Wednesday, Angela Mayer said interest is building as sign-up month approaches.

“We’ve a lot or renewals lately,” Mayer said.

And with the lofty goal of having 1 million check-outs on the year, library circulation manager Cody Flood said there was no reason not to get the entire county involved.

“Every campaign we do goes toward that goal, so we thought why not get everyone else involved,” he said.

This year’s campaign, however, will not be a one-off deal, if the library can find the support in the future.

“We’ll roll this out next year; it’s not a one-time deal,” Flood said. “And it’s not limited to 20 businesses. It’s open to whoever wants to participate.”

So library officials are encouraging all county residents to check the pockets and purses to find out what’s in their wallets: If there’s no library card, get one; if it’s expired, get it renewed. There’s a lot more to the library than books, Roark said.

“We’re not your mother’s library anymore,” she said.

Look for a “We Partner with Hancock County Library” window clings in local storefronts, visit the library for a complete list of participating Greenfield businesses or go online to hcplibrary.org.

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