It is almost time for Library Card Sign-up Month and this year the Lafayette Public Library is partnering with Lafayette author and artist, Denise Gallagher for the annual reminder to sign up for a library card!
Lafayette Public Library has partnered with Louisiana artists to create limited-edition library cards for seven years as a unique way to mark Library Card Sign-up Month. The event is held each September to coincide with the start of the school year.
This year, patrons will get the chance to have a piece of Gallagher’s artwork that will adorn the 2023 limited-edition library card. The card will be available starting September 1, while supplies last.
Before realizing her dream of being an author and artist, Denise Gallagher worked in graphic design. She had always wanted to illustrate children’s books. Later, she discovered her love of writing as well. She has so far written and illustrated two children’s books, as well as illustrated other works.
“Somewhere along the way, I decided that if I wrote stories to accompany my illustrations, I could create characters and subjects that I enjoyed drawing and that really challenged me. I rather liked the writing part and began finding inspiration in folktales, animals and the (often weird) books that I loved as a child,” she explained.
She has a life-long passion for children’s book as works of art. She especially admires Maurice Sendak, Maira Kalman, Kate DiCamillo and Carson Ellis. Her interest in drawing was first sparked by her mother, who was a kindergarten teacher. She remembers reading picture books as a child in her mom’s classroom, which inspired Gallagher to create her own characters and stories.
“As I grew, my love of picture books never waned. The stories, the characters, the color, the magic — these are what fill my creative heart with joy and continue to inspire me,” Gallagher said.
Her illustration for this year’s art-centered library card features a child whose imagination has been captured by a story. It shows the child having a fantastical book party with whimsical characters, confetti, butterflies and a spot of tea. She said she wanted her artwork to celebrate the joy of reading, and to share her love of books.
Gallagher’s advice to parents seeking to turn their kids into book lovers is this: find stories that speak to you and your child, and read to them as often as possible.
“Visit the library often and let your children choose. There is no wrong book for a budding reader. As long as they are reading something that they enjoy, they will grow to love reading for the simple pleasure of doing so,” she said.
Gallagher said the library is one of her favorite places to go for inspiration.
“I can lose myself for hours reading stories, folktales, and poetry; admiring fine artists or picture books; and more often than not discovering something new,” she said.
Since 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month has been held each September to mark the beginning of the school year and to remind everyone about the endless value of having a library card. With a library card, a person can borrow books (including ebooks and audiobooks), get homework help, learn new skills, join book clubs, attend community events, discover new hobbies, and more.
During the month, the American Library Association and libraries across the country – including here in Lafayette – work together in a national effort to encourage every child to sign up for their own library card.
The Library is once again teaming up with the Lafayette Parish School System to provide free Student ID-Public Library Cards. This partnership has been going strong for six years, and automatically enrolls more than 33,000 public school students into the library system, giving them access to materials, online services and databases, and helpful and knowledgeable library staff, among other resources.
For more information about how to sign up for a library card, visit or call any of the nine branches of the Lafayette Public Library, or visit lafayettepubliclibrary.org/faq.