This month the time to get or use a library card

Perhaps you’ve seen the photo of Ridgway Burns on his bike, pulling a small book trailer, on the cover of the Hinsdale Public Library’s fall 2020 newsletter, “Beyond Books.”

Burns is wearing his helmet and — thanks to COVID-19 — his face covering.

The picture says it all. Library board members and staff have worked hard to continue serving residents during this unprecedented pandemic. And residents aren’t willing to give up what they’ve come to expect from this amazing community asset.

September is Library Card Sign-up Month, and like so many other annual events that have occurred since March, the 2020 version will be like no other.

The library, which was forced to close for 115 days, did re-open in early July. Patrons can’t use the library as a place to read, work or study, but they can stop in to find a book or DVD they’ve been looking for.

A host of events that brought people to the library pre-pandemic continue to take place virtually. The Voyager’s Travel Discussion Club, Great Decisions, Novel Tea, Hinsdale Bite Club, Next Chapter Book Club and Next Chapter Social Club all have online meetings scheduled in the next few weeks. (Many require a library card to sign up.)

These ongoing programs are supplemented by timely sessions like “How to Apply to College During COVID-19” and “Vote Smart!”

The younger set can enjoy virtual storytimes multiple times a week, and readers of all ages can still register to pick up an HPL Book Box once a month. Even HPL After Dark is going digital, with a Trivia Night set for October.

Residents can’t use a library card to reserve a room or a computer right now, but they do need one to obtain remote access to resources like Consumer Reports, and, all of which the library offers for free. Obtaining a library card doesn’t just benefit the individual who holds it. The number of resident cardholders helps staff measure the library’s reach relative to its area counterparts. A high percentage affirms that people know about and value library services.

As far as opening the library for more in-person programming, staff is taking a cautious approach. They’ve been watching positivity rates in the community following Labor Day and the return of many District 181 students to class. They’ll also be watching as some District 86 students head back to class in early October. Executive Director Karen Keefe told us the main concern is allowing people to congregate and potentially spread the disease. But Keefe and her colleagues want to offer as much as they safely can to the community and encouraged residents to let them know what they need most from the library.

We trust many of you already have a library card. If you don’t, you can sign up for one online at

If you do have a card, join us in celebrating the great work the library is doing to fulfill its mission of celebrating lifelong learning and fostering community connections through innovate educational and cultural experiences.

And be sure to give Ridgway an air high five the next time you see him bicycling down the street.