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Austin Public Library to offer free library cards to students anywhere in Travis County

Austin Central Library
Gabriel C. Pérez
Austin Public Library is giving all students in Travis County the ability to check out books and other materials for free starting in October.

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Students enrolled in any school in Travis County can get a free library card from Austin Public Library starting Friday, even if they live outside Austin’s city limits.

Library cards are already free for city residents, but people who don’t live in Austin have to pay a quarterly $30 fee or an annual $120 fee to get one. Now that fee will be waived for all students who either live or attend a school in Travis County. This includes students in private schools, daycares and charter schools as well as students who are homeschooled. The fees are waived until high school graduation.

“We are very excited to be able to expand access to library materials to all students in Travis County,” Austin Public Library Director Roosevelt Weeks said in a press release. “One of the Austin Public Library’s six core priorities is ‘Literacy Advancement,’ and lifting a financial barrier to accessing the Library’s resources for tens of thousands of Travis County students will provide a significant boost to literacy and learning in the Greater Austin community.”

Austin Public Library says the change was made possible after the Austin City Council approved an updated budget for the library system in August.

The library cards for non-Austin residents work the same as the cards Austin residents can get. People who have them can check out books, music, DVDs and other materials from any of Austin’s 21 library locations. A library card also gives people access to the library system’s virtual offerings, like eBooks, audiobooks and videos.

The library system says it’s reaching out to Travis County school districts and private schools to give students library cards directly. Students can also apply for a card with a parent or guardian cosigner at any location offering in-person services or apply online here.

Marisa Charpentier is KUT's assistant digital editor. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @marisacharp.
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