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Free Christmas library card gift opens up a world of books, information and community

Free Christmas library membership gift cards that open up access to a million books and other no-cost library facilities are being offered across Devon and Torbay this festive season.

Libraries Unlimited is packaging up 5,000 free library memberships in specially-designed Christmas cards – and anyone can take one from their local library to give as a gift.

Library membership gives access to free books, eBooks and eAudiobooks, plus eMagazine and eNewspaper downloads, free WiFi and computer use, along with countless groups, activities and other facilities.

Libraries Unlimited, the charity that runs libraries in Devon and Torbay, hopes the free cards will be the perfect solution for people struggling to pay for Christmas presents during the cost-of-living crisis.

Sophie Crofts, Libraries Unlimited Reading Development Manager, said: “If someone buys one book a month and a daily newspaper, a library card could save them up to £500 a year. We’ve got a total of 982,919 books and eBooks available – that’s nearly a million reads, enough for even the most enthusiastic book-lover! There are also free newspapers, magazines, and lots more, all available with this simple little card – a library card is literally the gift that will keep giving all year round.”

“We’ve created three special Christmas card designs. The one for adults shows a pretty coastal Christmassy community, for children we have our Secret Book Quest characters, and for the under-5s there’s Libro the library cat and friends. Each Christmas card contains a library membership card and key fob. The person who receives it just needs to go their local library and register the card to start their membership and immediately enjoy all that libraries have to offer.”

“Pop it in a stocking as a filler, or inside a book, or if you’re buying someone a device you can include the card which will, once registered, give them access to our entire digital library.”

The card is part of the 2023/24 ‘Libraries for Life’ campaign which ran for the first time last winter in response to the cost-of-living crisis and rising fuel bills. The campaign offered everything from free hot drinks, food banks and advice sessions from local support agencies, to free warm coat rails, and displays of books and information on budgeting and low-cost cooking. The campaign will run again throughout this winter until March.

“We hope we’ve got Christmas all wrapped up this year,” added Sophie. “We know so many of our users love the experience they have in our libraries, so why not share it. And with the cost of living increasing, many will be looking for alternative gifts this year. Anyone can pick up one of our Christmas gift cards from their local library – they can even gift to themselves if they aren’t already a library member!”

With only 5,000 of the special cards being produced, stocks are limited and people are encouraged to take up the offer sooner rather than later. There’s a limit of four cards maximum per person. Children 16 and under will need a guarantor to register their library membership.

Libraries in Devon and Torbay are run by Libraries Unlimited, an independent staff and community owned charity. Join up for free by filling in the online form at or Follow Libraries Unlimited on Facebook.

For further information and full contact details please visit our web page