Wednesday, November 15, 2023

So, why should someone get a Library card?  

Well, there are several reasons, but for many people, there is one reason that stands above the rest. 

Using a Library card can save you money. Lots of it.  

For many in the community, having a Library card isn’t a luxury, but a necessity. Students, homeschoolers, veterans, the elderly, and those on limited incomes depend on the services afforded through their library card. For many, these services would be unattainable without a Library card.

But how does someone save money using their Library card? And how much can you actually save? 

Well, let’s dive into that.  

Before you buy something, see if you can borrow it from the Library 

With a Library card, a patron has access to an abundance of checkout materials — and we’re not talking about only books.  

Using their LPL card, patrons can check out movies, music, video games, board games, iPads, seeds for gardening, and learning kits, among other items.  

Of course, we have plenty of books, as well — thousands are available in our physical collection, and even more are available electronically, including eBooks and audiobooks.

So, when it comes to checkout items, how much money can people save?  

In the period from 2013-22, LPL patrons saved an estimated $135 million on more than 17 million checkout items — though considering that is based on an average of $7.99 per checkout item, we’re certain that is a LOW estimate.  

Broken down even further, if we average out all 17 million checkout items from the previous decade across the parish’s 142,000 population, EACH PERSON averaged 11 annual checkouts, saving $87.89 per year. 

For a family of four, that’s a savings of… $351.56 EVERY YEAR. Just in checkout items!  

But the Library has so much more! 

Through your Library, you can access newspapers, magazines, comics, and other periodicals

Do you find it difficult to be up to date with local and national news?

Having a Library card can help with that.

LPL patrons have access to newspapers, magazines, comics, and other periodicals.

Through your Library account, you can access The Advocate, the state’s premier newspaper, as well as national publications such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

If you were to pay for all three subscriptions for one year, that would cost one adult:

(Note: All prices are standard rates and do not include promotions.)

  • The Advocate: $17.95 every four weeks ($233.35 per year)
  • The New York Times: $25 every four weeks ($325 per year)
  • The Wall Street Journal: $38.99 every four weeks ($506.87)
  • Total: $1,065.22

That’s a lot of savings… and that’s only for the newspapers. We also have millions of online magazines and comics accessible with an LPL card!

With a library card, you can reserve free tickets to local museums 

In 2021, the Livingston Parish Library introduced a new service to patrons — Cultural Passes. 

With their library card, patrons can reserve passes to local museums and attractions, free of charge.  

The available passes give access to a variety of local museums and attractions, including: 

  • National World War II Museum (general admission: $35 per adult, $25 per child in grades K-12) 

  • Louisiana Art & Science Museum ($15 per adult, $12 per child ages 3-12) 

  • USS KIDD Veterans Museum ($14.63 per adults, $10.45 per child ages 5-12) 

  • Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center ($3 per adult ages 18-64, $2 per child ages 3-17) 

  • Hungarian Settlement Museum (donation-based) 


Let’s assume a family of four (two adults and two children) wanted to go to any of the aforementioned museums and attractions. Here is what each would cost, with and without a Library card: 

  • National World War II Museum: $0 with an LPL card, $120 without an LPL card 

  • Louisiana Art & Science Museum: $0 with an LPL card, $54 without an LPL card 

  • USS KIDD Veterans Museum: $0 with an LPL card, $50.16 without an LPL card 

  • Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center: $0 with an LPL card, $10 without an LPL card 

  • Hungarian Settlement Museum (donation-based)

Print out, fax documents at a HEAVY discount 

You can use our computers to print out important documents, plane tickets, concert tickets, shipping labels, and so much more. We do charge a small fee, but that is ONLY to cover costs and provides NO additional income to the system (in other words, the Library is not making money from printing and faxing services). 

So, what is the price to print and fax?  

It costs LPL patrons 10 cents to print a standard letter-size black and white page, compared to 19 cents a page at FedEx. If you want to print the page in color, that’ll cost you 25 cents at the Livingston Parish Library — less than half the 69 cents that would cost at FedEx. 

Faxing is also a great deal for the parish. Any Livingston Parish citizen can fax one page for $1 and each additional page at 25 cents. For a company such as Office Depot, that would be $1.49 for the first page and $1.29 for each additional page. 

So, if you wanted to fax 10 pages at your Library, that would cost $3.25 — not even 25 percent of the $13.10 that would cost at Office Depot!

Use our Wi-Fi while you enjoy a cup of coffee in the AC 

All five of our branches are equipped with high-speed internet, well above the national average.  

Each LPL branch has internet speeds up to 1 gigabit per second, which is equal to 1,000 megabits. For context, the national average internet speed is just over 119 Mbps, which makes our internet speed almost 10 times faster. In other words, we have REALLY fast internet connectivity. 

That speed is for both Wi-Fi and hardwire connection, meaning that you will have high-speed internet if you’re using one of our computers or if you’re using your own phone or laptop. 

And if you bring your own device, you don't even have to step inside a branch to use our Wi-Fi — our Wi-Fi reaches our parking lots, meaning you have access to high-speed internet without having to leave your vehicle.

But if you do decide to walk into your local branch, be sure to grab a cup or two of coffee — something that would cost $1.85 per 12-ounce cup (not including a tip) at your local Starbucks.  

And since we’re in south Louisiana, we MUST have good AC, which all five of our branches have. So, we can be your fallback plan if your AC blows out during the hot summer months. 

We have programs and events for nearly every interest, for every age group  

Your Library regularly offers fun, free programming that would cost money elsewhere. For example, there are: 

  • Arts and crafts classes for all ages 

  • Weekly storytimes and regular musical education sessions for young children 

  • Book clubs for all age groups 

  • Workshops for topics such as writing, music, cooking, sewing, gardening, gaming

  • Programs for all subject categories, specifically reading and S.T.E.A.M. 

  • Programs specifically for senior citizens 

  • Community movie nights 

  • Holiday-themed events (such as Trunk-or-Treat) 

And none of that includes our Summer Reading Program, which packs hundreds of programs and performances into the summer break. This past summer, some of the biggest draws were Louisiana singer/author Johnette Downing, performer Mitch the Magician, children’s educational program Harvey Rabbit and Friends, animal educator Barnhill Preserve, performer Crescent Circus, and youth performers from the Tri-Parish Ballet and Baton Rouge Youth Ballet. 

For this year’s Summer Reading, we had more than 15,000 people attend a program or performance. If attendance cost $5 per person, that’s a savings of $75,000. But fortunately, like all our programs, Summer Reading was FREE. 

The BIG Ones 

Along with regular programming, we have two single-day events that draw thousands: the Livingston Parish Book Festival and Comic Con.  

And they both have one IMPORTANT thing in common: They are free to the public. 

We had more than 2,200 people attend the 2023 Book Festival, the most we’ve ever had. The freebies for visitors included:  

  • One standing room-only performance from a NYT bestselling author who has sold more than 13 million copies (Eric Litwin) 

  • Two author talks featuring award-winning writers (Ellen Bryon and Sarah Guillory)

  • Live music featuring a former American Idol contestant (Ashton Brooke Gill)

  • A petting zoo 

  • Bounce houses 

  • Face painting and temporary tattoos 

  • Popcorn and cotton candy 

  • Board games 

  • Photo booth 

And just an FYI… we had 1,600 people attend 2023 Comic Con, another record. 

Access to free social services 

As a community partner, the Livingston Parish Library also offers programs to support the community, all free of charge.  

We have numerous online resources for students and teachers that offer homework help, early literacy assistance, learning kits, research databases, and more. Many can be accessed with our special LPPS eCards, which are available to more than 26,000 Livingston Parish students and teachers.

Our Career Center can help people find a job, finetune their resume, complete skill-building exercises, conduct mock interviews, or learn about starting a business. Additionally, our Teen Advisory Board places teenagers in a professional setting and allows them to acquire job and college recommendations.  

We also offer English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for those needing to learn English, and we have digital literacy sessions to those needing help setting up an email address or learning to use using Excel or Word.  

We periodically have sessions where people can get advice from tax experts or legal experts — services that could cost hundreds, depending on the situation. 

We also offer an online database specifically for Veterans: Through Brainfuse VetNow, our Veterans can connect with a live veteran navigator to learn more about eligible VA benefits and community resources for education, housing, healthcare, employment, and more. 

So, what does all this mean? 

In the end, how much can a person actually save with a Livingston Parish Library card? 

That answer will vary for each person, but we’re going to do our best to give you an idea. 

Let’s say an adult patron:  

  • Checks out one book per month (12 per year, valued at $7.99 each) 

  • Checks out one movie per month (12 per year, valued at $7.99 each) 

  • Checks out one audiobook every two months (6 per year, valued at $7.99 each) 

  • Drank one cup of coffee during 12 yearly library visits (valued at $1.85 per cup) 

  • Reads one issue of The Advocate every week (52 per year, valued at $2 each)

  • Makes one annual visit to the National World War II Museum, Louisiana Art & Science Museum, USS KIDD Veterans Museum, and Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center (total value of $67.63) 

  • Attends Comic Con, Book Festival, and 3 other programs (5 per year, valued at $5 each) 

That one adult patron would save $458.53 PER YEAR. For two adults in the same household, that would be a savings of $917.06! 

Now, let's cut those numbers in half. If an adult patron:  

  • Checks out one book every two months (6 per year, valued at $7.99 each) 

  • Checks out one movie every two months (6 per year, valued at $7.99 each) 

  • Checks out one audiobook every four months (3 per year, valued at $7.99 each) 

  • Reads one issue of The Advocate every two weeks (26 per year, valued at $2 each)

  • Drank one cup of coffee during 6 yearly library visits (valued at $1.85 per cup) 

  • Makes one annual visit to the Louisiana Art & Science Museum and USS KIDD Veterans Museum (total value of $29.63) 

  • Attends Comic Con, Book Festival, and one other event (3 per year, valued at $5 each) 

That one adult patron would save $227.58 PER YEAR. For two adults in the same household, that would be $455.16 of annual savings per household!

And neither estimate includes the reduced cost of printing and faxing the Library offers. 

Simply put, having and using a Livingston Parish Library card saves you A LOT OF MONEY in the end. We invite you to sign up for a card today so you can find out exactly how much!