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Photo: Courtesy of the American Library Association
Image: Courtesy of the American Library Association

The most important item on your school supplies list? A library card.

By San Juan Capistrano Library Staff and the Friends of the Library

A new academic year is starting this month at many of our local schools. And, as students and parents prepare, lists are being made of supplies that will be needed: pens, paper, backpacks, notebooks, lunch bags, pencils, binders, and so on. But perhaps the most important back-to-school supply is a library card.

Libraries provide free programs, services and resources for students of all ages to help them succeed in school and beyond. And a library card gives access to everything libraries have to offer.

A library card is the key that opens the door to invaluable treasures—vast collections of knowledge and information. With a library card in hand, you can explore all of our local library has available, and then some. The card also gives you access to the entire OC Libraries catalog, as well as other library systems through the interlibrary loan service.

And when study time is over, students can check out the wonderful collection of graphic novels at the San Juan Capistrano Library. Graphic novels are basically longer comic books, and if this year’s superhero movies are any indication, graphic novels have become very popular with kids of all ages.

At San Juan’s library, there are graphic novels for children, teens and adults in two recently expanded sections. Included in the children’s section are Marvel and DC superhero favorites, as well as new selections such as “Pokémon Adventures,” “Smile” by Raina Telgemeier, and “Narwhal and Jelly” by Ben Clanton. In the teen and adult graphic novel sections, there are popular superhero, manga and Star Wars titles. If you can’t find a series you like, you can request it from another branch, or read it online with your OC Public Libraries hoopla account, which is free—all you need is a library card to sign up.

With a library card, you can borrow materials, use library computers, download e-books and music, read digital magazines, use research databases and online learning tools, and much more. And through the OC Public Library website (, you can access online resources from home without getting out of your pajamas.

At this time of year, public libraries nationwide focus on the value of library cards and remind us that having a card can help all students in their pursuit of academic achievement (and recreational diversion when their homework is done).

The “Branching Out” column is a collaboration between San Juan Capistrano Library staff and the Friends of the Library, a nonprofit that supports the library and its programs by raising funds through its on-site bookstore and special events. For more information on the library, visit or follow @SJCFriends on Facebook.

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