For Orange County Library System’s nearly 100-year history, your library card has been the key to unlocking a world of free resources. To celebrate National Library Card Sign-Up Month, we are looking back at the evolution of “the most valuable card in your wallet.”
The library’s first card, which was made of cardstock, included a metal plate on which the library card number was stamped to prevent duplication. This card design continued well into the 1980s, after Albertson Public Library had become Orange County Library System.
In the 1990s, OCLS adopted a card design which included a scannable barcode; allowing for more rapid checkout through the library’s computerized lending system. This card was perhaps most famously used in a campaign to promote library card sign-up by then Orlando Magic superstar Shaquille O’Neal. Posters from that campaign are still available for free from the Friends of the Library Bookstore.
In 2001, a redesign of the library’s logo and color scheme brought about a change to the library card once again. In addition to a scannable barcode, these cards included a magnetic strip which could be read by our public printers.
To demonstrate our commitment to residents of Orange County, a new card design was unveiled in 2016 which showcased our common purpose: We Change Lives. Plans are currently underway to release the card in a format that includes a convenient keychain option – that card will reflect our fresh slogan: Learn. Grow. Connect.