Summer Reading Club is over, and we hope patrons had fun participating in all the different programs the Southwest Public Libraries offered this year.

Summer Reading Club is over, and we hope patrons had fun participating in all the different programs the Southwest Public Libraries offered this year.

Now, as the minds of staff members turn toward moving into the new Grove City Library next month, parents, students and teachers also assume a new focus: back to school.

Among the goals at Southwest Public Libraries is to serve as the community's center for lifelong learning and foster a love of learning in children. To accomplish this, the library offers a variety of resources for students and teachers to complement what they cover in the classroom.

Both teachers and students can get their own library cards. For students, there's the CaT -- short for Children and Teens -- Card, which allows them to check out up to five items at a time from the juvenile collection and access the library's online resources and catalog. Children can sign up for a CaT Card on their own, unlike a full-access card which requires a parent's signature. Most importantly, the card has no overdue fees, which is critical for students who might not be able to make it to the library on a regular basis.

The Educator Card has been around longer, but we just improved it. An Educator Card is available to verified educators who live or teach in Ohio and is used to borrow materials related to their classroom teaching curriculums and not personal use. In June, the library system's board of trustees, based on staff recommendations, voted to eliminate overdue fines from Educator Card accounts. While educators will still be held financially responsible for lost or damaged materials, the elimination of overdue fines is intended to give them more flexibility with the materials they check out.

Whether a patron has a CaT Card, an Educator Card or a standard card, the library offers full access to a host of online databases and resources, including Mango Languages, for help learning a foreign language; TumbleBook Library, which offers ebooks for children; NoveList K-8, a database that provides book recommendations for younger readers; Gale Artemis Literary Sources, a collection of information related to primary sources, critical articles, literary and cultural analysis and biographies; and more.

And library staff members always are more than willing and capable of helping a patron and pointing them in the right direction. Anyone who visits the library and receives help can attest they are a much better source of gathering of information than Wikipedia.

Mark Dubovec is communications manager for Southwest Public Libraries. Contact him at mdubovec@swpl.org.