Key-ring cards: memories of America

Yesterday I was reminded of a feature of American life that I loved. Allow me to explain.

Our local library closed down last month. At first, I thought it was a symptom of the Coalition Government’s cuts. But I later found out that it was because a few of our local libraries were being consolidated into a big one on Clapham High Street.

This new library opened on 2 July. And I took my daughter for the first time yesterday. And I have to say: it is fabulous.

Its design is based on a spiral. The books adorn the outer walls of a circular sloping walkway. Every so often, a gap in the books allows you to walk into one of the study rooms.

On the inside, you overlook a huge open space, with a children’s reading area at the bottom.

Upon entering, we picked up our new library card. It came in two connected plastic portions: the main credit card–sized card to slip into your wallet; and a much smaller tear-off piece that had a small hole in its corner. It is *this* that reminded me of America.

It performs exactly the same function as does the card that goes in your wallet. But it’s smaller and travels the world on your key-ring rather than in your wallet. It’s more accessible, and way cooler. We later used it to check out our first two books using the barcode thereon.


In America, these key-ring cards were commonplace. I had a few: one for New York Public Library, one for the Food Emporium and one or two others that I struggle to remember. But I remember fellow shoppers having scores of these things, scrolling to the appropriate card for the shop they were in to get their discounts or collect their points.

For whatever reason, they’re not so commonplace in the UK. This is the first one I’ve ever encountered. But I love it. And I wish I had more.

Oh, and if you’re in the area, check out Clapham library. Utterly fabulous.


2 Responses to “Key-ring cards: memories of America”

  1. Mum on July 22nd, 2012 22:27

    Tesco’s have had keyring cards for years!

  2. Robert Dallison on July 23rd, 2012 13:30

    Since last week I am the proud owner of a Nectar keyring tag, which hopefully will eliminate the frustration of getting to checkout only to find I’ve left my Nectar card at home…

Leave a Reply