Neill Public Library Card Art Contest

I still have my childhood library card, complete with youthful signature, although it’s become a bit brittle. The card is propped up on a shelf in my bedroom and makes me smile every day. And I'm not alone. When the subject came up in conversation at the library last week, most of my coworkers revealed that they, too, have kept their first library card, and most knew exactly where it was tucked away. Even now that those library accounts are long gone, we’ve held on to our expired cards in the same way that others cherish a ticket stub from an amazing concert or transformative international journey.

This has been a record-setting year for creating new accounts at Neill Public Library. Our stockpile of library cards is getting depleted, and it’s time to order more. Encouraged by the success our neighboring libraries have had with library card art competitions, we decided to join in the fun and forego our usual minimalist card design in favor of a chance to highlight our community’s creativity.

Anyone - ANYONE - can submit an entry. There is no age limit and you don’t even need to be a Neill Public Library patron- though we certainly encourage anyone without a card to come down and get a one!

Artwork entries can be created by hand, with digital media, feature photography, or any combination of visual media. We hope that the art on our new cards will reflect the wide-ranging interests, dreams, and imaginations of the patrons who walk through our doors. This is your chance to consider what libraries or books mean to you, reflect on what you love about Pullman, or express your gratitude for libraries, literacy, and the importance of the freedom to read. The possibilities are endless.

Three winning designs will be featured on our new cards: one youth entry (artists up to age eleven), one young adult (ages 12-17), and one adult (18+). The deadline to submit artwork and entry packets is Saturday, June 1, 2024, and all entries will be reviewed by a panel before public voting on the finalists begins in mid-June. Entry forms and rules can be found at our front desk and or download them online. Winning designs will be announced on Monday, September 2, in honor of National Library Card Sign-Up Month.

I hope that you take this opportunity to think back over your experiences as a library patron. Try to remember the first time you checked something out with your own library card. Recapture the emotions you felt while reading your first favorite book. And consider creating a piece of art that represents all of that, even if you don’t consider yourself an artist. Your entry might become a child’s very first library card, or a ticket to invaluable resources for a new Pullman resident. It might be the most important item in your neighbor’s wallet. And it’s very possible that, thirty years from now, your artwork might be a cherished memento in the scrapbook of a librarian.

by Marisa Gibler, Circulation Assistant
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