PANAMA CITY _ During the month of September, the Northwest Regional Library System (NWRLS) is joining with libraries nationwide for Library Card Sign-up Month, to encourage parents, caregivers and students to obtain a free library card that will save them money while reaping rewards in academic achievement and lifelong learning. Your library card is the best back-to-school resource out there!

Disney’s The Incredibles are Library Card Sign-up Month honorary chairs, helping to promote the value of a library card and bring attention to the many ways libraries and librarians transform lives and communities through education. Early literacy classes spark a love of reading and learning at a young age to encourage school readiness. NWRLS branches offer free STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) programs for school aged students. Select branches provide access to 3D printers, LEGOs, coding classes, and the ability to experience Virtual Reality through PlayStation VR or Oculus Rift headsets (Virtual Reality for ages 13 and up). Educational programming takes place throughout the year for children and adults.

“Throughout the school year, our library offers a variety of programs to stimulate an interest in reading and learning,” said Nancy Brockman, Coordinator of Gulf County Libraries. “We have programs for all ages, from early literacy to continuing education. We teach technology skills, provide phenomenal children’s classes, bring in guest speakers on various topics, and inspire creativity through craft programs. It’s an exciting place to be!”

Libraries are an essential part of the educational infrastructure of any community and we are here to assist you this school year. Your library card allows you to check out up to 20 items at a time with access to books, audiobooks, eBooks, eAudiobooks, DVDs, ukuleles, dulcimers, eReader devices, and cake pans. You also have access to online research databases, including Encyclopedia Britannica and the Florida Electronic Library. All branches have Wi-Fi and computer access available for your research and homework needs.

One incredible new service that NWRLS offers is ArtistWorks for Libraries. ArtistWorks provides unlimited access to online video instruction for music and art lessons. The lessons can be completed at your own pace from beginner to advanced skillsets. Music lessons include band instruments, piano, ukulele, and more. All you need is your library card and internet access to begin free lessons today! This service has been generously sponsored by Bay Arts Alliance and the Ukulele Orchestra of St. Andrews. For more information about ArtistWorks for Libraries, visit http://www.nwrls.com/artistworks.html.

NWRLS has branches in Panama City, Panama City Beach, Parker, Springfield, Port St. Joe, Wewahitchka, Bristol and Hosford. For more information about how to sign up for a library card, visit any NWRLS location in person, online at www.nwrls.com, or call 850-522-2100.