For immediate release | September 5, 2012

A free library card is your ticket to back-to-school savings

Families flock to libraries for Library Card Sign-up Month

CHICAGO - According to the latest projections from the International Council of Shopping Centers, Americans will spend more than $40 billion on back-to-school supplies. Libraries are not sources for back-to-school fashion, but do provide access to library programs and services that help families save hundreds of dollars and support academic achievement.

September is the 25th anniversary of Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when families will turn to their local library to register students for the most cost effective back-to-school supply of them all – a library card.

Libraries offer free access to important educational resources like online homework resources (82.3 percent) and access to online databases (98.8 percent), with content in virtually every school subject, including history, literature and science.

Information literacy is becoming an important skill that all students must master. Information literacy means knowing how to find, evaluate and use information in all forms – electronic or print. Getting information is easy, but getting the right information takes practice. Why pay for computer training when a library provides free technology workshops for the whole family? More than 90 percent of libraries offer formal or informal technology assistance to library users and 35 percent offer one-on-one technology training by appointment – all for free.

“A library card is essential to helping people live better for less in this tough economy.” said American Library Association (ALA) President Maureen Sullivan. “Every year thousands of students and families take advantage of the many free educational and recreational programs and services libraries offer. We believe that the playing field in education is leveled when everyone has free access to information. Every parent and caregiver empowers their child with a ticket to lifelong learning – a library card.”

How much money can you save if you use the library? A library resource calculator provided by, a website supported by the American Library Association (ALA), shows that just modest use of library resources (10 hours of computer use, reference assistance and database searches) can save a family more than $380.

In some communities libraries are working with local businesses to offer card holders even more savings. For example in Boyd County (Ky.) Public Library card holders who show their valid library card in September will receive discounts of up to 10 percent on clothing, sporting goods and book purchases. Also, select retailers will provide deeper discounts of up to 20 percent on merchandise.

Back-to-school consumers are encouraged not to miss out on the savings they can gain by visiting their local library and learning about the many free technological and educational resources that libraries offer.

Joining the ALA in efforts to increase library card registrations is Honorary Library Card Sign-up Month chair Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. Polamalu will work with the ALA to remind both parents and children that a library card is the most valuable back-to-school supply in your wallet.

2012 marks the 25th anniversary of Library Card Sign-up Month - a time when the American Library Association and libraries across the country remind parents that a library card is the most important school supply of all. Since its inception in 1987, thousands of public and school libraries join each fall in a national effort to ensure that every child has the best back-to-school tool – a library card.

For more information on how much your family can save by using the library please visit

For information on Library Card Sign-up Month please visit


Downloadable artwork featuring “the smartest card” is available in multiple formats. To request an electronic file for use in your publication, please call Jennifer Petersen, at (312) 280-5043, or e-mail .


Macey Morales

Media Relations Manager

American Library Association

1-800-545-2433 ext.5024 4393