Larra Clark
Media Relations Manager

Macey Morales
PR Coordinator
(after August 14)


Library Card Sign-up Month Fact Sheet

52 Ways to Use Your Library Card

U.S. Public Library Statistical Trends

American Library Association Fact Sheet


Invest in the “smartest card” this September during Library Card Sign-up Month

(CHICAGO) What's the one surprising investment that can yield up to 10 times its value? Your public library! Recent studies show that libraries contribute far more than informational resources to their communities; they also strengthen the economy. This September, the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country urge individuals to take advantage of their investment and sign up for a library card, the “smartest card” in your wallet.

This year's theme for national Library Card Sign-up Month is “The Smartest Card. Get It. Use It. @ your library.” Libraries use the “Smartest Card” campaign to promote library card use and enrollment in their communities, including teaming with local elected officials in media events and other activities.

“The public rewards of library enrollment speak for themselves,” said ALA President Michael Gorman. “Nowhere else are books, magazines, the Web, audio- and videotapes, CDs, DVDs, and more available to all people regardless of economic status. And librarians are always available to help you make the right choices for you and your family.”

Libraries are among the most effective of all public services, serving more than 2/3 of the population with less than 2 percent of all tax dollars. A study of the economic contribution and return on taxpayer investment in Florida public libraries shows that returns far exceed taxpayers' investment—$6.54 return for every tax dollar invested. South Carolina found that its libraries provided $4.48 in value for each tax dollar. Libraries also supply more jobs, higher wages, and an increase in the gross national product, providing further proof that libraries are a sound economic investment.

Observed every September since 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month reminds parents that a library card is the most important school supply of all. Studies have shown that children who are read to in the home and use library services perform better in school and are more likely to use libraries as a source for lifetime learning. With almost 16,500 public libraries nationwide, free homework help, computer classes and a world of information are right around the corner.

For more information about the “Smartest Card” campaign, visit the PLA Web site at or the Campaign for America's Libraries Web site at and click on the Public Libraries Campaign icon.

Smartest Card logo


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Print PSAs



American Library Association

Public Library Association

The Campaign for America's Libraries


Library Card Sign-up Month Press E-kit, August 4, 2005, Public Information Office, ALA