Cute new library cards designed to hook baby bookworms for life

The province's public libraries are making an adorable push to appeal to its youngest patrons.

Puffin-shaped cards now available for infants and toddlers

Ten-month-old Scarlett Pauley shows off her new library card, with help from dad Aaron Pauley. (Lindsay Bird/CBC)

Newfoundland and Labrador's public libraries know few people can resist a puffin, and they hope our provincial bird's appeal will entice their youngest patrons to get hooked on books.

The library now offers colourful infant and toddler library cards shaped like puffins, complete with a key ring meant to dangle off a diaper bag.

"Everybody thinks they're adorable. We even want the baby cards — the staff have been like, 'We want one too!'" said Sandee Harnum, a librarian at the Corner Brook Public Library.

Ten-month-old Scarlett Pauley clearly couldn't resist, chewing on her puffin card minutes after her parents signed her up for one.

"It's so much fun, the cute little puffin," said dad Aaron Pauley.

Artist Richard Jarvis designed the new card for older kids, left, and the puffin card. (Lindsay Bird/CBC)

Pauley admits while his daughter rarely sits still for long, she always makes time for storytime.

"She loves us reading to her. She can't get enough of it either. She's going to be a good reader when she grows up," he said.

Six kids, six cards

Scarlett has a lot of literary company at home; she is the youngest of six, all of them bookworms.

"The kids all have their own library cards, and they all get to pick out their own stuff. The older ones have to be responsible for their own fines," said Aaron Pauley, a big library user himself.

"At any point in time, I can have four or five books on the go at the same time. It's just natural for us to have readers. When they were growing, we would continually read to them in their younger years."

Pauley estimates their home library "easily" exceeds 4,000 books, with Dr. Suess and Robert Munsch perennial favourites. In their household, a rendition of The Paper Bag Princess or I Have To Go! is a performance piece.

"I read it the way it's supposed to be read, with lots of flair and acting out the parts. The kids love it," he said.

Aaron Pauley says he has honed his Robert Munsch (pictured) reading skills to perfection. (Scholastic/ Annick Press)

New cards for older kids

Parents don't have to wait until 10 months of age like Scarlett to get one of the puffin cards.

"From Day 1 of a newborn, they can come in, soon as they get their name, and get their card and go from there," said Harnum.

Although the puffins are meant for infants and toddlers up to three years of age, the regular children's card has also gotten a makeover, and now depicts a puffin reading under a rainbow of imagination. No matter the card, Harnum hopes it attracts kids through the doors.

"It's important to have children reading at such a small age. And even before they're able to read themselves, being read to. It allows for their imagination to grow."

A woman's hand pulls a library card out of a red wallet.
Adults have to settle for regular old cards featuring the stunning scenery of St. John's or Gros Morne. (Stephanie Kinsella/CBC)

Pauley couldn't agree more.

"It's great to have all these initiatives that they're doing, he said as he balanced his baby in one arm and his newly checked out books in the other.

"It's a great place for kids to really experience books, and experience the things that books can create, and what you can create in your mind, because of books."

The new cards are available in all provincial libraries.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


Lindsay Bird

CBC News

Lindsay Bird is the producer and host of Atlantic Voice, a CBC Radio 1 show showcasing documentaries and storytelling from the east coast. She is based out of CBC Corner Brook.