More than 50 businesses across the county are offering residents big discounts on their meals and purchases and free items this month when you show your library card.

The new program, called Play Your Card Right, is an effort by the county libraries to get people to sign up for a library card and raise awareness about the county’s library systems. September is national Library Card Sign-Up Month.

You can get free desserts, ice cream cones and sandwiches, 10 to 25 percent off your purchases or discounts on your meals.

Local librarians wanted a way to participate in the national library card initiative, said Lisa Lintner, director of the Johnson County Public Library.

“It is a benefit to anyone who has a library card and they can get the discount,” she said.

Lintner and other librarians got the idea at a conference, where other librarians shared how the program worked in their communities. Then, employees started recruiting businesses who wanted to participate.

The three library systems — Johnson County, Greenwood and Edinburgh — worked together on the project. A library card from any of the branches will get you a discount.

Part of the initiative is to help drive people to the library who may not have had a card in years, Lintner said.

Often those people don’t realize that the library has expanded to include book downloads and other services, such as new programs, she said.

“We are seeing a lot of people interested in library cards and they are seeing the services we offer and perhaps they didn’t know since they haven’t been to the library in years,” she said.

And businesses get the benefit of attracting new customers who will go to the business for the discount from their card, Lintner said.

“They maybe see people they haven’t seen before,” she said.

The promotion ends in September, but businesses can continue to offer the discounts to library card holders if they want, Lintner said.

At a glance

Want to save?

If you’ve got a library card, you can snag savings at more than 50 businesses across the county this month.

If you don’t have a library card, get one to get in on the deals before the end of the month.

To see which businesses are participating, go to and click on “Play Your Card Right.”

Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2770.