5 more ways to utilize the public libraryCommunity

I have been a proud library cardholder since I was four years old. I loved going to the library with my family and when I was old enough I even volunteered for a summer. I am a huge advocate for the library, but often get weird looks from people when I gush and rave about my local library. Once I had a person say ‘I thought the library was only for children, the homeless, and pedophiles!’ What?! That comment prompted me to write a blog post in September of 2011 discussing why libraries should stay open. In that post, I listed 10 free ways people could utilize libraries. I did this to show people that libraries aren’t dead, in fact libraries have become quite innovative in designing programs and initiatives that keep up with this technological and fast paced age.

My NY library card expired two weeks ago and I can only renew it in person, so I’ve been in a bit of a book withdrawal since I can’t access the free Overdrive eBooks.  So I decided to check out my local library here in Tempe, to see if they had the same eBook lending program. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had even more perks than my NY library.

This discovery prompted me to update my list of ways people can utilize the library for free.

1. Download and keep free music legally

Through Freegal Music, library cardholders can download three songs or two videos per week and keep the content. The content can be used via the web, iTunes, and mobile devices (through an app).

2. Enroll in online classes

Universal Class offer over 500 free online continuing education classes on a multitude of topics. With your library card, you can also learn another language with Rocket Languages.

3. Subscribe to magazines and travel guides

Through Zinio, library cardholders can subscribe to digital magazines for free. In addition, Infotrac is a free service that gives library patrons access to travel guides, National Geographic and National Geographic Kids.

4. Free audiobooks

Overdrive offers free eBooks and audiobooks, but One Click Digital is exclusive to just audiobooks.

5. Homework help for children and teenagers

There are many programs offered to help children and teenagers with homework, projects, and even GED preparation. In addition to academic assistance, there are book clubs, reading time, game nights, and more for kids of all ages to enjoy.

These are just a few programs that could be available at your library. Visit your public library today or visit the website to find out what hidden gems your community has to offer.


An urban planning PhD student finding peace in creating a balance between the mind, body, soul, & environment.

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Photo Credit: Michal Zacharzewski


  1. Great info! I remember Infotrac from a long time ago. I need to get a card at my local library soon!

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