Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff Red Deer Public Library staff Linnea Lawton, Kim Lennie and Deb Isbister wear T-shirts promoting the library’s free library card program – Strong and free and now so are we.

Free Red Deer library cards a hit

Campaign runs to end of 2017

Red Deerians are snapping up Red Deer Public Library cards during the – Strong And Free And Now, So are We – free library card campaign.

Since July 1, the library has been celebrating Canada’s 150th with free memberships for residents and the freebie is available until the end of the year.

“In July, new memberships went up 30 per cent and renewals went up 94 per cent,” said library CEO Christina Wilson.

“Overall we have 41 per cent more people than we had this time last year. We have 52,027 who are members of the library.”

The annual $10 membership fee is waived for new adult members and those renewing memberships. Memberships for teens and children are already free.

Members who renewed their membership prior to July 1 can renew again before the end of the year for free. Their membership will expire within one year of their new renewal date.

Wilson said the campaign’s popularity is no surprise.

“We suspected this would be what would happen. We’re very pleased.”

She said the campaign removes a barrier for some residents. Others are surprised the renewal fee is only $10, and they are encouraged to make a donation in lieu of the fee. People who give large donations receive a charitable tax receipt.

She said people get library cards for different reasons. This summer computer Internet access at all three library branches jumped about 40 per cent and computer use so far this year is up 20 per cent.

“Lots of people don’t have connectivity at home and they want the printing. They also want help accessing and navigating government websites, getting forms, sending out resumes.”

Wilson said e-book use is up five per cent so far this year and Game of Throne fans were eager to borrow past seasons when the eighth and final season for the television show was announced.

“Those are the kinds of things the library can connect you to as well as a world of information.”

Memberships for non-residents remain $40 per year.

But they can get a ME card through their local library to check out items from Red Deer Public Library for free. They should check with their local library for information about the ME card.

For more information visit

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month