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Access to Health and Education

Library Cards Offer Consumers a Treasure Trove of Back-to-School Savings

According to the latest back-to-school survey from Deloitte, the average U.S. parent is expected to spend more than $500 on K-12 school supplies and more than $1,300 on college essentials.  Many consumers don’t realize their local library offers a treasure trove of savings.  

Why buy when you can borrow? Parents can save hundreds of dollars throughout the school year by taking advantage of free access to technology workshops, homework help, e-books and e-readers, databases, Wi-Fi, and the expertise of library staff.  

Something for everyone

Students aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a free library card. Today’s libraries offer savings for every member of the family. 

Library holdings differ from community to community, but before you begin that expensive home remodeling project, you might want to check in with your library. Many libraries offer tools and artwork for checkout, and some offer basic DIY home repair workshops.  

Hate to spend money on musical instruments or toys that may capture your child’s interest for a brief nanosecond? Look no further than your library. Many libraries lend toys, musical instruments, sheet music, and even offer free music lessons.   

Also, job seekers who can’t afford a new wardrobe may be able to borrow business attire like ties, suits, briefcases, and purses form their local library.  

Get signed up this month

People of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to take full advantage of library resources and register for a free library card this September during Library Card Sign-up Month. Since 1987, the American Library Association, along with our nation’s academic and public libraries, work together to highlight the value of a library card. 

During the month, libraries of all types will host special programs and events to showcase services and savings. This national effort coincides with the beginning of the school year.

According to the latest figures from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, there are more than 171 million registered borrowers across public libraries in the United States. To encourage more people to register, participating libraries will offer limited-edition cards that feature Library Card Sign-up Month Honorary Chairs from Pixar’s “Toy Story” films, including Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Bo Peep and friends. Contact your local library for information on availability.    

Want to know how much money you can save during your next library visit? The American Library Association offers a library service calculator that highlights savings. Check it out at learn more about Library Card Sign-up Month, visit

American Library Association, [email protected]

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