Here’s All the Free Resources You Can Find at the Public Library

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Did you know the United States has over 16,000 public libraries and bookmobiles? Libraries are more than just places to borrow books these days. They provide numerous free resources and services to help you learn and discover new interests. Whether you’re interested in learning a new language, taking citizenship courses, or having access to a printer or computer—all for FREE—public libraries have you covered. In this article, we’ll explore the resources available at your local public library.

Next, we will answer some common questions about public libraries in the United States:

  1. How can I find my local public library?
  2. Do I need an ID to get a library card?
  3. Can I access the internet for free at the library? 
  4. Can I learn a new language at the library?
  5. What other free resources do libraries offer?
  6. What can I borrow from the library?

How can I find a public library near me?

If you’ve never been to your local library, you can search online to find the closest one. To do this, type “library near me” into Google, and your local library branch will appear along with contact information and hours of operation. Alternatively, you can click HERE, enter your zip code, and your local library will be displayed.

Do I need an ID to get a library card?

Now that you know where your closest public library is, call them to determine what type of identification you need to bring to obtain a library card. Requirements may vary, as each library has different policies. Typically, they accept passports (foreign ones, too), driver’s licenses, or state IDs. You’ll probably also need to show a document verifying your address, such as a utility bill. And remember, it is FREE to get a library card!

Can I access the internet for free at the library?

Yes, most libraries offer free internet access via computers or Wi-Fi. Depending on the library’s policies, you may need to sign in or reserve a computer.

Can I learn a new language at the library?

Absolutely! You can learn an entire language at no cost with a library card. You can utilize language learning resources such as Mango or CDs to practice conversational skills, access films, and books in your target language, or even attend free classes at your library to help you achieve your language learning goals for free!

What other free resources do libraries offer?

Libraries offer a lot more than just books and internet access. Here are 15 other free things you can find at your nearest public library:

  1. Workshops and classes on computer skills, financial literacy, job searching, and resume-building 
  2. Access to online research databases containing academic journals, newspapers, magazines, and scholarly resources
  3. E-learning platforms like or LinkedIn Learning offer thousands of courses on technology, business, creative skills, and more.
  4. Digital media services that allow users to stream or download movies, music, audiobooks, and e-books onto their devices for free 
  5. Extensive collections of local history materials, including archives, newspapers, maps, and genealogical records
  6. Community hubs that connect people with local resources and services such as job fairs, legal assistance, health information, and social services 
  7. Assistive technology resources such as screen readers, magnifiers, and adaptive software for individuals with disabilities
  8. Free children’s programs, including storytime, crafts, STEM activities, and summer reading programs
  9. Workshops on financial literacy, budgeting, saving, and managing debt.
  10. English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and conversation groups to help immigrants improve their English language skills 
  11. Assistance with citizenship preparation, including study materials, practice tests and workshops on the naturalization process, and the citizenship interview
  12. Partnerships with legal aid organizations and immigration advocacy groups to provide access to legal assistance, immigration resources, and referrals to legal services for low-income individuals and immigrants 
  13. Librarians are there to guide you through government services and forms, including assistance accessing benefits such as SNAP, Medicaid, and housing assistance. 
  14. Free or discounted passes to museums, art galleries, botanical gardens, zoos, and other cultural attractions 
  15. Free events and workshops for families, including arts and crafts activities, storytelling sessions, movie nights, and themed events celebrating holidays and cultural traditions

What can I borrow from the public library?

Aside from books, you can borrow the following from libraries:

  • Audiobooks in formats like CDs, downloadable files, or streaming services
  • E-books from a digital library compatible with e-readers, tablets, smartphones, or computers
  • DVDs and Blu-rays featuring new releases, timeless classics, documentaries, and educational programs
  • Video games for popular gaming consoles like PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.
  • Magazines and newspapers covering current events, fashion, cooking, sports, and more
  • Board games, card games, and puzzles suitable for solo or group play.
  • Educational kits and materials designed to support STEM education, literacy development, and creative exploration for children and families
  • Instruments such as guitars, keyboards, and drums for musical experimentation and learning

Mitzi Colin Lopez is a Digital Ads Content Creator and Experimenter at Noticias Para Inmigrantes. Her origin as a Mexican immigrant characterizes and drives her to empower the Latinx, Hispanic and immigrant communities. She is a recent graduate of West Chester University, where she obtained her bachelor’s in Political Science and Spanish. Her passions include social justice, advocacy, hiking, traveling, and weightlifting.