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Do You Know About These FREE Library Membership Perks?!

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Stetson at Library Reading

Why buy when you can borrow?

If you haven’t visited your local library lately, you may be in for a pleasant surprise! Libraries across the country have begun offering more than just books. Many have added household items, toys, games and more – all available for checkout, and often referred to as the Library of Things. This is a great way to try before you buy, or to save money by simply borrowing!

Please note that items will vary from library to library, so be sure to check your local branch website or stop by to find out which items are available in your area.


Check out our list of cool things you can possibly use or borrow for FREE with your library membership…

3d printer at library

Image Credit: Glen Ellyn Public Library

3D Printers

Does your kiddo have an idea for a design and want to bring it to life? Select libraries are now offering 3D & 5D printing services. Prices typically start around 15¢ per gram of filament used in the printing process.


ABC Mouse little girl working on computer wearing headset

ABC Mouse

Does your kiddo love ABC Mouse but your subscription is expired? Ask your library if they have an ABC Mouse account. The service typically must be used while in the library and on their computer. It’s a great way to keep your kiddo occupied while you’re relaxing with your favorite book at the library.


active workstations

Image Credit: Phoenix Public Library

Active Workstations

If you’re in the Phoenix area, you can use an Active Workstation while you’re at the library! These workstations include a treadmill with a desk and computer that library visitors can use to surf the internet while staying active. How cool is that?


american girl doll in library

Image Credit: New York Public Library

American Girl Dolls

Yes, it’s true! Some libraries offering American Girl Dolls as a part of their library lending programs. Dolls are typically available to be checked out for a week at a time. This is a great way for your kiddo to play with an American Girl Doll without spending a penny!


library board games

Board Games

Need a fun game to play at your next get together? Consider borrowing a game from your local library and save your cash for more appetizers. Grab one for a rainy day when the kiddos are complaining about being bored!


books by mail

Image Credit: Arrowhead Library System

Books by Mail

Not able to get to the library due to permanent or long-term illness, or over the age of 65? Many libraries are now offering a Books by Mail program where you can have select titles shipped to you to borrow and no charge. This is a great resource for senior citizens!


cake pans at library
Image Credit: Akron Public Library

Cake Pans

Want to bake a cake for a special occasion but don’t have the right pan? Some libraries have begun offering a wide variety of cake pans that you can checkout. My librarian told me that the train cake pan is their most popular cake pan, especially around the holidays! Who knew?


yoga class

Classes

Need help with your resume? Time to get in shape? Look no further than your local public library for free or low-cost classes on everything from Fitness, Crafts, Square Dancing, Painting, Foreign Language, Resume Preparation and so much more.


computers at the library

Computers & Tablets

Don’t have a personal computer at home? Head to the library and borrow theirs! Some libraries even have laptops and tablets that you can checkout, which is great for taking advantage of their free catalog of eBooks.


copy machine

Copiers, Printers & Scanners

Need to print out something and your printer is on the fritz? Never fear, the library has you covered! Most libraries have copiers, printers, scanners and fax machines that you can use. Prices will vary per area but are typically pretty reasonable compared to big box stores like Office Depot, UPS Store, etc. My library charges 15¢ for black and white copies/prints, $1 for color copies/prints, $1 per fax and 25¢ per item scanned. Pretty sweet pricing if you ask me!


woman holding kindle

e-Books & Audio Books

Your library card gives you access to e-Books & Audio Books available from various online services such as OverDrive. ProQuest, eReadKids and many more. Why pay for expensive monthly services when you can get it for free?


killawat energy meter
Image Credit: Fon du lac Public Library

Energy Efficiency Meter Kits

Borrow an easy to use meter that calculates electric usage and costs of household appliances to help you reduce your energy bill.


real simple magazine opened to article

Magazines

Miss reading your favorite magazines? Many libraries offer digital versions of magazines through Flipster.com which are totally free with your library membership! Or you can read the hard copy versions while you’re at the library.


metal detector
Image Credit: Shaler Library

Metal Detectors

Want to find hidden treasure at the beach? Lose an earring in the yard? Your local library may be able to help by loaning you a metal detector.


microscope amazon

Microscopes, Binoculars & Telescopes

Have a Science buff at home? Some libraries have microscopes, binoculars, and telescopes that can be checked out – perfect for helping with school science class projects!


cds at library

Music

Most libraries have a collection of CDs that you can borrow, but did you know that you can also borrow digital music, too? Many libraries are now offering free digital music downloads via services like Freegal, Hoopla and more!


georgia library backpack
Image Credit: Georgia Public Libraries

Museum, Zoo, State Park & Experience Tickets

Did you know that you can possibly score passes to museums, zoos, national parks and more for free or discounted rates simply by using your library membership? At my library, you check out a DVD about our local Zoo, when you return it you’ll get a voucher redeemable for free zoo tickets for a family of four.

At libraries in Georgia, you can check out the State Parks Backpack, where members will score a hanging tag that allows free parking at all of Georgia’s state parks and historic sites as well as the Historic Site Family Pass that allows four (4) free admissions into any of Georgia’s historic sites. This program is available at most libraries throughout the country! What a great way to experience all that your city/state has to offer culturally without spending your hard-earned money.

Those of you in New York are lucky as there is a huge list of museums that you can get in to free with your library card via the Culture Pass program.


library dvds

Movies

Need something new for family movie night? Don’t waste your money buying or renting DVDs, head to the library and borrow one for free. My library has a nice selection, however, the titles are a little dated, so it’s a good time to check out an oldie but goodie you may have missed. Prefer to stream movies? Head to Kanopy.com where you can stream recent and classic movies for free when you sign up for an account by using your library card!


Power Tools

Need to fix something around the house or have a DIY project that you need a power tool for? Some libraries are now loaning tools! What a great way to keep the cost down for your project by avoiding having to pay for expensive tools.


library puzzle on a table

Puzzles

I always hate buying puzzles because they can sometimes be pricey and I never want to work on one again once I’ve finished it. Many libraries have puzzles available to checkout, or you can work on a shared Puzzle In Progress at the library. The puzzle is on a table and you can stop by and work on it, then when you’re done someone can start working on it where you left off.


seed library

Seeds

Want to give gardening a shot? Select libraries have packages of seeds that you can score FREE with your library card! Grab some and teach your kiddos about plants and vegetables.


Sewing Machine at Library

Sewing Machines

I was surprised to find out that my library loans Sewing Machines! Completely free to check out when you use your library card. I checked around and it seems like quite a few libraries offer this service. This is a great way to give sewing a try before spending a lot of money on one of your own.


sports equipment

Image Credit: Pontiac Public Library

Sports Equipment

Fishing poles, soccer kits, footballs, baseballs and more! Your public library may just have what you need to enjoy a fun afternoon of outdoor play with the kiddos.


sensory kit
Image Credit: Kenton Library

Sensory, STEM & STEAM Learning Kits

Your kiddos will love being hands-on with STEM & STEAM Learning Kits, and you’ll love the price – FREE! This is a great way for them to learn about coding, science, technology, mathematics and more.


meeting room

Study & Meeting Rooms

Work from home and need a change of scenery? Head to the library and you can use one of their study rooms for a quiet environment to finish that big work project without the distractions/noise at home. I work from the library at least 2-3 times a week and it’s nice to get out of the house, plus I feel like I get more work done there. It’s also a great place for your club or non-profit group to hold their next meeting.


harvard library dog
Image Credit: Harvard Countway Library

Therapy Dogs

Students at Harvard and Emory University can borrow therapy dogs for 30 minutes of cuddling and playtime. Studies show that students felt more relaxed after taking a break from their studies to play with one of these pups. I sure wish my library offered this service! 🐶


Wi-Fi

Need to connect to the internet from your smartphone or laptop? Head to the library and use their free Wi-FI! Libraries typically will have the password hung up on the wall or available at the main desk.


library-of-things

Image Credit: Brian Mead for American Libraries Magazine

More awesome items you may be able to borrow from your local library…

  • Art Kits
  • Assistive Tool Kits
  • Sports Equipment
  • Craft Kits
  • Musical Instruments
  • Tax Help/Forms
  • Costumes
  • Roomba Vacuums
  • Umbrellas

5 Ways to Score Cheap Concert Tickets!

Join The Discussion

Comments 52

  1. Sarah

    My library offers free audiobooks through Overdrive and Libby! It’s awesome! I’m always telling co-workers and friends they need to sign up because they’re missing out!

    • J.H.509

      I know our library only has the basics. ಠ︵ಠ

    • sona

      Am behind on my techie stuff…how do you listen to audiobooks?

      • Angela

        You will have to find out what app your library uses, should be available on the website. My library uses The Cloud Library App.. Just download the app from the app store, put in your information(most likely just your library card number) and browse through the books., I listen in my car through the bluetooth. My husband doesn’t have bluetooth in his car so he uses ear buds,,

  2. Jackie

    Nope, our library doesn’t carry any of these awesome things. 🙁 we just have movies, books, video games and CDs . I wish we had half of the stuff you are talking in this post. It would be fantastic! I hope our library sees this post and takes some notes.

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      Maybe you could make a suggestion to your library?

  3. Amy

    More importantly… what the heck is Stetson reading about?!!?! lol… that is most def NOT a leisurely, back porch read!!! LOL

    • Rebecca

      Lol yes!! Who is expecting?!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      😂

    • Mel

      Yes! I was thinking the same thing! That book is very graphic so if he’s not actually expecting a child that book may cause him to never want kids. LOL At the very least, it may make him happy he’s not a woman.

  4. NN

    I have borrowed a Roomba and Sewing Machine from our library. There’s many other items too. Pretty cool!

    • Deidra

      a ROOMBA?! 😀

  5. Amanda

    Our library lets you borrow kitchen appliances like an immersion blender, Air Fryer and Pressure Cooker. We ❤ our library!!

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      How nice!!!!

  6. Cassie

    LOVE my public library!

  7. Amy

    I’ve been doing free Ebooks for years. There’s usually a wait list for popular titles but I just read as i get them. Wish we had nice libraries here with some of these things!

  8. B

    I live in Colorado and we can belong to any library district in the state- not just the county we live in! I have memberships across the stare for their different online memberships.

  9. HBee

    Love my library! Ours offers a little o
    ver half of these items and I would guess our family has saved hundreds over the years. What a blessing!

  10. Lo

    My favorite item is the WiFi hotspots! We also have bikes. I wonder about the upkeep for the dolls and power tools. I’d love if we had sewing machines w/ classes.

    • Deb

      Yep, the Cleveland Public Library (OH) has WiFi hotspots, too. It also has a Tech center where you can scan thing like paintings and wedding albums. Plus, the librarians there are so nice!

      • Deb

        *things

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      BIKES! So cool!

  11. Deidra

    I wish my library would offer a cricut to use, even in-house.

  12. Cassie

    Our library has audiobooks on the hoopla app & free home delivery of all books. It’s amazing!

  13. Arnold S

    Also check out the Hoopla app and the Hoopla channel on Roku. You can borrow ebooks audio books comics music movies and streaming TV if you have a library card.

    • jennybaugh

      We love Hoopla but I didn’t know about the app on Roku! Thank you!

  14. Susan

    Chicago Libraries have passes for each of the museums (admits 2 adults and 2 kids) and I check these out whenever I have guests visiting. With adult admission being nearly $30-$40 per person most places, I’ve saved a bundle!

    **In a similar vein, the science museums have reciprocity for members so one family who visits uses their local Science Museum membership to get into Shedd Aquarium, The Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and the Museum of Science and Industry for free!

    • Lexie

      Our natural history museum in Atlanta has reciprocity with the ASTC and we can go to all kinds of science museums across the US for free. Definitely worth it if you travel or are science nerds like us!

  15. Maggie

    Ours just opened the Library of Wonderful Things!! They have kindles, Roku’s with Netflix, wifi hotspots ( we use for vacations since we all share data on our wireless plan), a sno cone machine, ice cream maker, punch bowl, laminator, telescope, microscope, electric keyboard. They have an Amazon wish list and are wanting fishing poles, tents and lawn chairs, too !!!

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      You could have a carnival with everything they have to borrow!

  16. nikis22

    So who is expecting LOL…

  17. Sue

    OMG I didn’t realize all the items that the library offers. No wonder why our property taxes keep going up and a lot goes to the library.

  18. Abbie

    Want your library to have things like this? Talk to them! Volunteer! Donate! Libraries love to see their community take an interest, and support them.

    My library just started their library of things and everyone is so excited.

  19. cath

    Ours has puppets for there only and wooden puzzles, which can be borrowed.

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      Puppets sound so fun!

    • snezhinka

      Library’s budget, just like your public schoools depends on your taxes, Libraries only get a few %, in case you’re wondering why your local library doesn’t offer great services like those listed here.

  20. beth

    So…is Stetson having a baby…?

  21. Amy

    YES! Libraries have all sorts of great stuff to borrow. They appreciate your support and will often take suggestions about what to offer that you might enjoy. My local library noticed that people loved it when they did exercise or wellness events, so now they have free weekly yoga, zumba, tai chi, and line dancing classes that anyone can take.

    I would add: Genealogy. Many libraries maintain premium subscriptions to sites like Ancestry.com as well as maintain lots of local history resources, so if you are putting together your family tree or tracing your roots, you should definitely check out the resources (and trained research librarians!) at your local library.

  22. tiph

    Wow I had no idea. Might have to check out my library more closely. Thanks!

  23. Beverly

    Just a note for those who LOVE their local libraries: Don’t forget about them when looking to declutter! Some of the items they loan out are donated and many would love to receive items that their patrons can borrow. (Just be sure to ask before dropping anything off. :-))

  24. Sarah

    The library has always been my happy place, and getting a library card is one of the first things I do when I move somewhere new. I don’t think my library has anything unusual to loan out, but they do have all kinds of classes and online subscriptions, like hoopla, creativebug and mango languages.

  25. Penny McMahan

    Hahahahah! love those pink readers and THAT book. Thanks for keepin’ it fun Hip2save!!

  26. MrsGarfield

    I am jealous about some of these options! I want to add to the list access to Linda.com tutorials and you can get free wi-fi for home. Apparently it is a device that offers wireless internet. Who knew such a thing existed!

  27. Sue

    I love my library, even though we don’t have nearly as much as what is shown here. I love to read and borrow movies from them. We have our own little library store in our library where we can purchase books, movies, magazines, and puzzles inexpensively. I always donate my free magazines I get to them to help make more money to support my library.

  28. Cindy Blandon

    Our library has a huge variety of cake pans in all kinds of characters and shapes 🙂

  29. Mel

    Yes! We homeschool and our library is a life saver. It saves us tons of money! My best advice is to know your librarians. They often know tons of resources and in addition, they can often suggest purchases for the library system. So if you’d really like your library to have a certain book, movie or even a sewing machine, the librarians may be able to help facilitate that. Never hurts to ask!

  30. Eve

    Thank you for therapy dog info at Harvard.

  31. Andrea

    Someone else already mentioned free access to Mango Languages. Similar to Rosetta Stone – a huge variety of languages and a strong learning program. Work at your own pace.

  32. SavingsMama

    Our library accepts gently used books, DVDs etc to sell at a discount price to the public. The money goes right back into the library programs. Check w your local branch and see if they’re accepting these donations. Also, if you’re a small business and want to get your name out, consider donating a few items they could use as prizes for a reading program for kids or adults. Lastly, if you have any amount of time in your day…run your kids, your parents, your neighbors up to the library and get them cards! Many people don’t even realize how much libraries have evolved and how modern they are. Ours has done a huge overhaul and has all new movies and books you can sign up to get as soon as they come in. No more Redbox late fees 😉

  33. lilapup01

    I have borrowed that metal detector. I took my niece and nephew on a treasure hunt. We had a fantastic time. I visit 2 libraries in my area. I’ve borrowed power tools, an extension cord, a radon detector, air quality test machine, and free pass to our local History Center (museum). I have access to the Hoopla app free through my library. It’s amazing. There is are cake pans, and a telescope available. Thanks for the post. I’m always trying to tell my friends how wonderful the library is.

  34. Denise Loewenthal

    We have libraries in the northeast ohio area that have recording studios that you can use for free. I remember when my son had to pay to record a music CD for me as a gift. This is a wonderful resource — I just love the library!

  35. Debora Jarrell

    I work at a University Library, and in addition to supporting the students at the University, we also are a state school and give Community cards to Delaware residents. The only thing community patrons can’t do is access our electronic services (databases). We offer checkout of laptop and Surface Pro computers (in library use), calculators, headphone, we also have Rosetta Stone for use free. We will help all patrons research, and get books, and Journals. We also have a Delaware Room where we have Delaware related materials, and our archives which is about the University.

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