Did you know you can access all of these services for free from most libraries?
We are sure most libraries have disappeared from your radar as their numbers have also been lower in the last few years. People aren’t as often bound to go to one as they were years ago when buying books wasn’t as accessible, and the COVID-19 pandemic has definitely hit most of them quite hard.
Despite this, more and more libraries ended up partnering with various other organizations in order to offer even more services so that people would use their doors more often. There has been an increase in people making use of libraries for various reasons, but not a lot of them are aware of the extra services they offer.
This is exactly why we have looked into them so you too can take advantage of all the perks that come with your library membership without any added costs, from streaming services to free courses! Whether you’re looking to make the most of your library card or you are considering signing up for one, we are sure that these added benefits will make your choice much easier.
Let us know if you’ve renewed your library card this year!
#1 Meeting Rooms
If you’re looking for a place to organize meetings that isn’t someone’s house or you need a more neutral ground, libraries are your best bet. Not only do they generally have conference-style rooms, but they have all the equipment you would ever need for a meeting that you generally wouldn’t have in other places (like a whiteboard).
If you’re part of a non-profit, a club, or you’re looking to organize some sort of event, you can ask your local library if you can rent one of their rooms as they’re generally free of charge!
#2 Online Courses
If you’re lucky, your library is partnering with LinkedIn Learning, which offers its whole catalog of online courses for free to participating libraries. It would be a great addition to your pool of knowledge, despite being more geared towards people who are still in the workforce or looking to apply for a job.
Even so, it’s never too late to get involved and maybe learn some extra skills for yourself or other side endeavors that could get you some extra funds. Ask your local library if they offer these types of courses or other similar services today.
#3 Music Streaming in Libraries
If you’ve been paying for a Spotify or Amazon Music subscription, maybe you should look into whether or not your local library has a partnership with another music streaming service included in their membership. Some of them offer access to Freegal Music, which is a streaming service that has millions of songs in its catalog, from more than 100 countries, so you can definitely find something to your taste.
While others offer access to Hoopla, which offers access to a lot of multimedia streaming, including an extensive music collection. Depending on what type of music you enjoy, it may be great to look into what your library offers too to save some money each month!
#4 Fun times for the young ones
This isn’t an invitation to use a library as a free babysitting service, but rather that you should look into whether or not the local library has any extracurricular activities or after-school clubs. Not only will they be beneficial for your child’s learning process, but they can also help you find something to do without spending too much money.
A lot of libraries seem to offer these services, and when school starts, you can look into any library clubs offered that could be great for the toddler or elementary school children in your family!
#5 Did anyone say party?
And no, we aren’t talking about the basic party supplies that you can easily get a lot of online. We’re talking about the more specialized items like chocolate fountains, large coffee makers, bakeware, and even fondue pots! All of these and others can be loaned from some local libraries if you just think about asking or looking on their websites.
After all, they’re too pricey to get them for yourself, but you could make use of what they have and save a pretty penny, not to mention throw one heck of a party too!
#6 Steaming Services
We all know that you can rent and take home Blu-rays and DVDs from your local libraries. It’s been something most have started offering when the boom of this technology started to take over, as it’s another way to attract people to their locations. However, you may be surprised that some have started to keep up with the times and have also started including streaming services with their memberships.
This doesn’t mean free reign on Netflix, but some libraries have started to pair up with Kanopy, which is a streaming service that lets you watch movies with no ads, while others partner with Hoopla, which also includes TV shows in addition to movies. You can ask at the checkout desk or scan the library’s website or the streaming service’s website to see if your local library is included.
#7 Self-improvement seminars and classes
Just because we are no longer as young as we once were and people think that only teens and young adults go to classes and extra courses doesn’t mean you have to stop learning. Especially if it’s something you’re really passionate about. And sometimes, having someone to guide you through it or just to share impressions with is as invaluable as you could learn by yourself.
This is where libraries come into play, as a lot of them offer seminars and classes free of charge! You just have to keep an eye out and even ask a librarian about them. Some libraries offer anything from budgeting classes to foreign language lessons, and some even offer technology-related courses if you want to keep up to date with everything.
#8 Free passes to cultural attractions
Depending on where you are from, you will find that some libraries actually have partnerships with other cultural places in the city, such as museums, zoos, and even exhibitions outside the realm of books. For example, if you’re close to the Milton Public Library, which is in a Boston suburb, you will definitely be able to see such extensive offers.
People signed up with the Milton Public Library can get access to the Fine Arts Museum, the New England Zoo and Aquarium, and many others! To see what is available at any of the libraries near you, you should check out their websites or ask someone who works there when you visit next.
#9 Online books, papers, and newspapers
If you’re looking to pass the time with a book, or even with something like a magazine or newspaper, but you aren’t at the library, you may be able to access them on any mobile device. All you need to do is check the chain of libraries to see if the one you’re signed up with has any partnerships with online reading media.
With your library card, they could offer access to apps like OverDrive, which allows you access to audiobooks and e-books; Hoopla, which also allows access to audiobooks but comics instead of e-books; or even Flipster, which offers access to online magazines. You will need special login credentials in order to access these apps, but you will be able to download and read from them for a set period of time.
And if you’re interested in the news, a lot of libraries have subscriptions to digital versions of newspapers. You can ask at your local spot if they are subscribed to one and how you can access it as someone with a library card. You never know what you can find if you just ask!
For other things, we still have to spend some money, but you will definitely feel like you’ve entered another tax bracket with these affordable items!