Key to free education for the whole family - a library card


Megan McFarlane

Campaign Coordinator

Campaign for America’s Libraries

ALA Public Information Office


For Immediate Release

September 1, 2009

September is Library Card Sign-up Month

(CHICAGO) As parents help their children prepare for a new school year, it is valuable to know that one school supply is free – a library card.

Launched in 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month, which is celebrated in September, is a time when libraries across the country remind parents that a library card is the most important school supply of all. The American Library Association’s Campaign for America’s Libraries organizes Library Card Sign-up Month.

A new public service announcement (PSA) featuring WNBA star and Honorary Chair of Library Card Sign-up Month Candace Parker reminds parents and children that a library card is the “smartest card” you can have. The PSA highlights all the resources libraries offer, delivering the message that they are available for free with a library card.

According to 2008 poll results from Harris Interactive, library card registration is at an all-time high, with 68 percent of American’s reporting library card ownership. Use of public libraries is also on the rise, with 76 percent of Americans visiting their local public library in the past year, compared with 65.7 percent two years ago.

This celebration comes at a time when Americans are visiting their libraries more than ever. Americans visit their public libraries 1.4 billion times and check out almost 2.2 billion items each year.

Libraries offer children free access to the tools they need to succeed in school, including books, computers, homework help, and internet resources. In the current economic climate, libraries offer additional classes for parents and other adults on subjects ranging from resume building and job searches to information on financial planning and adult education classes.

Libraries looking for materials to help promote Library Card Sign-up Month locally can download print and audio PSAs featuring WNBA Star and Library Card Sign-up Month Honorary Chair Candace Parker. ALA will customize the print PSA at no charge with a library’s logo. For information and to download PSAs visit

Other promotional materials, including a sample press release, letter to the editor, proclamation, PSA scripts and Smartest Card logos and buttons, can also be found at

Created by the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the ALA, and the Campaign for America’s Libraries, the Smartest Card campaign was developed in 2004 to promote the library card as the important card in every wallet.

PLA offers Smartest Card merchandise at its Café Press store Library Store…Library Stuff ( Smartest Card items include messenger and tote bags, mouse pads, note cards and license plate frames.

The Campaign for America’s Libraries, ( is ALA’s public awareness campaign that promotes the value of libraries and librarians. Thousands of libraries of all types – across the country and around the globe - use the Campaign’s @ your library® brand. The Campaign is made possible by ALA’s
Library Champions, corporations and foundations that advocate the importance of the library in American society.