The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library isn’t just a library. It’s an amazing network of 20 branches providing the Charlotte area with amazing benefits. These awesome FREE benefits include an incredible maker space, free access to eBooks, and so much more. Keep reading to discover everything the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has to offer.
Create Something Amazing in One of the Library Maker Spaces!
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library doesn’t have just one amazing makerspace, it has several across multiple branches. The Idea Box is the largest and is located in the Main branch. The ImaginOn Branch has Studio I, a space dedicating to creating audio and visual content. And other branches have smaller satellite studios as well.
The Idea Box is the primary makerspace at the library’s main branch. The Idea Box has creative tools like 3D printers as well as CAD stations. It also has a variety of tablet devices including both iPads and Chromebooks. The Idea Box also offers a fun assortment of robot technology like the MakerBot Replicator and the LulzBot Mini.
Studio I is a fantastic resource that allows kids age 10 through 18 express themselves creatively. The space is geared towards recording audio and video content, but it also has fun gadgets like robotics and crafting tools. The space has a professional setup for creating audio and visual content including recording booths as well as blue screens. Studio I is open most days, but some hours are reservation only. You can find the best time to come with their online calendar.
Outside of the two large maker spaces, the Charlotte Mecklenburg also offers smaller spaces at branches other than the main branch. These satellite spaces have laptops as well as cameras. The laptops include all the software needed to create and edit movies, videos, and music. Satellite Studios are available at the Beatties Ford Branch, Davidson Branch, and Independence Branch.
Record Your Own Podcast with a Podcast Kit!
Have you ever wanted to try your hand at podcasting? If lacking the necessary equipment is the only thing holding you back, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library can help! Thanks to a grant, the Library now offers Podcast Kits available for loan for FREE to Library members. The kits can be checked out from the Idea Box at the main library.
Inside the kit is nearly everything you need: four microphones, three foam windscreens, two mic cables, one H6 recorder with manual, and other odds and ends necessary to record your podcast. The kit includes a list of tips for recording a successful podcast, and the entire setup comes packed up in a sturdy suitcase.
You can check out a kit for up to three weeks for free. After that, the library will charge you a late fee of $10 but with a maximum fine $40. Be careful with the kit however; the total replacement price for a lost kit is $650.
Start Your Own Book Club at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library!
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has lots of book clubs across all 20 branches. But if there’s not a book club that fits your needs you can always start your own club. Thankfully, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has resources to help you get started. You can check out a Book Club Kit for your first meeting.
There are many different kits to choose from. A Book Club Kit includes 10 copies of the selected book, biographical notes about the author, sample discussion questions, and tips for leading a book discussion. You can check out a kit from any branch as well as keep it for 6 weeks. There are no renewals and late fees are $1 per day. If you lose a kit the library will charge you $15.
Stream or Download Free Movies, Audiobooks, Music, eBooks, and More!
Your Charlotte Mecklenburg Library card gets you access to an incredible variety of digital content. The library has deals with several media services that allow you to stream or download books, music, movies and more.
OverDrive is one of the largest digital media services available to U.S. libraries. The service offers eBooks and audiobooks for download. It also offers movies and videos available for streaming. OverDrive can be used with most devices including both tablets and mobile devices. You can see the full list of compatible devices here. You can check out up to 10 titles and keep each of them up to 21 days.
Hoopla is another popular service that offers eBooks, eComics, audiobooks, music, and video. There are no holds and no waiting required. You can stream your favorite media or even download them to your smart phone. Hoopla charges the library a fee for each download. This means that instead of a set weekly limit there is a library-wide cap on downloads.
NCKids Digital Library
Designed for kids aged pre-K through 4th grade, NCKids hosts children’s eBooks, audiobooks, videos, and read-alongs. NCKids Digital Library is made possible by grants from the state and federal government.
RBDIgital, formerly known as Zinio, is one of the oldest services available to Charlotte Mecklenburg Library members. The service is best known for the large selection of magazine titles. With your library card, you can get access to current issues of the most popular magazines.
TumbleBooks is an animated collection of talking picture books. Designed for small children, TumbleBooks has titles in French as well as Spanish. The service also includes games, puzzles, and more.
World Book is one of the best-known series of resource books in the world. You can get access to their digital series of encyclopedias with your library card.
Freegal is a free downloadable music service. You can download or stream any of the 10 million tracks in their database. Additionally, Freegal also hosts over 15,000 music videos. With your Charlotte Mecklenburg Library card, you can get 5 downloads as well as 3 hours of streaming per week.
Films on Demand
Films on Demand host an enormous collection of education videos and documentaries. The service hosts thousands of how-to videos, indie films, and historical newsreels.
You can get access to a large portion of the PBS library through PBS Video. The service allows streaming of over 250 PBS original programs.
Get Books Delivered to Your Home for FREE!
Do you suffer from a physical ailment that prevents you from visiting the Charlotte Mecklenburg library? That doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying what the library has to offer. Homebound Library members are eligible to join the Library by Mail program. With the program, you can select a title from the online catalog. The library will mail the book to you with a self-addressed stamped envelope. You can keep books for up to three weeks
Check out fun, FREE events for the whole family!
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is always bustling with activity. Each library branch has their own selection of interest groups and book clubs. Teens can play video games as well as get homework help. Children can both enjoy storytime and learn to read. And adults can join book clubs or get job help. You can keep up with everything offered at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library at their online event calendar.