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3 Cincinnati Public Library Card Secrets!

3 Cincinnati Public Library Card Secrets!

The Cincinnati Public Library is one of Ohio’s best options for free benefits and events. A library card from the Cincinnati Public Library can get you free museum passes, access to the MakerSpace, and much more. Keep reading to see what the library has to offer!


Get FREE admission to area museums with a Discovery Pass from your Cincinnati Public Library!

Cincinnati plays host to several popular cultural institutions and landmarks. To give members a chance to explore these sites, the Cincinnati Public Library has developed the Discovery Pass. The Discovery Pass gets you free admission to local museums and cultural attractions.

To check out a Discovery Pass, you only need a library card in good standing with less than $10 in fines. If you meet those requirements you can reserve a pass online. A Discovery Pass gets you access to four popular attractions:

The American Sign Museum has been the home for printed ads and other signs since 2005. The museum has many displays regarding both signage and the equipment used to create them. You can get free admission for two people with your library card.

The Great Parks of Hamilton County was once known as the Hamilton County Park District. The Great Parks are made up of 17 parks and 4 conservation areas in and around Cincinnati. With your library card, you can get free admission for one vehicle.


The Harriet Beecher Stowe House is the former home of Uncle Tom’s Cabin author Harriet Beecher Stowe.  The house serves as a museum to the life and times of Stowe and her anti-slavery advocacy. With your library card, you can get free admission for two people.

Create something amazing in the Library MakerSpace at the Cincinnati Public Library!

The Cincinnati Public Library has a truly special MakerSpace. Located on the second floor of the main library, the MakerSpace is open 7 days a week except for holidays. You can find the working hours for the MakerSpace here.

The MakerSpace is full of crafting equipment of all shapes and sizes. While all machines are free to use for library members, you must purchase any material you use. You can call the library to set up a free tour, or reserve one of the MakerSpace stations online. There are 10 stations to choose from.

The Audio Recording Station is a high-quality recording booth. You can record a podcast, a video, or even an album. The booth has all the mics and cables needed to record. The station has mixing software that allows you to lay down single or multiple tracks. When you’re finished, you can burn your recording to CD or flash drive.

Digital Creation Stations are powerful computers that offer a large suite of design software. It includes top-of-the-line AutoCAD programs, video editing, and web design software.

The Espresso Book Machine is a one-stop book publishing device. It will automatically print, bind, and trim your own novel. The end result is a perfectly bound, retail quality paperback book. It can produce books up to 830 pages in size. Before you publish your works you can review the Espresso Book Machine Self-Publishing Tips.

With the Laser Cutter / Engraver Station, you can cut, burn, or etch designs into a variety of surfaces. These include wood, acrylic, and glass. You can bring your own material to engrave as long as it is an approved material. The approved materials are listed here. You can also purchase acrylic or wood at $6 and $1.50 per sheet respectively.


Media Conversion Stations are designed to let you modernize your old music, movies, and photos. You can convert cassette tapes or records to MP3. You can also convert VHS tapes to digital or DVD. The station is free but you will need to provide the media form you plan to convert to.

If you aren’t ready for a big project, you can use the Mini MakerSpace first. Kids will enjoy making their own buttons, using an Ellison machine, or crafting with the electronic cutting tool.

The Photography / Video Station includes everything you need to photo print work or record commercials. The kit is a “studio-in-a-box,” which includes a green screen, backdrops, and lighting. The kit has everything you need to light and frame your shot, but you will be responsible for bringing your own camera.

The 3D Printer Station offers you the chance to create something entirely from scratch. Your imagination is the limit; you can create toys, jewelry, or even prototypes. The MakerSpace has two 3D printers. The use of the printers is free, but you will have to pay for the printer filament you use in each project. The normal filament is 10 cents per gram, while the glow-in-the-dark filament is 25 cents per gram. You can reserve 3D printer time here.  You must provide the design yourself, and your session must be finished within 120 minutes.

You can mend clothes or create your own designs at the Sewing Station. The station includes several sewing machines, a dress form, and all of the other tools necessary to craft your own clothing. Bobbins of thread are 10 cents each. No reservations are necessary to use the Sewing Station.

The Vinyl Printer Station has everything you need for large professional-grade printing projects. The printer lets you create banners, bumper stickers, and even t-shirt transfers. You can make your design at the library, but it is recommended you do so before reserving the printer station.


Stream or Download Music, Movies, eBooks, Audio Books, and More!

The Cincinnati Public Library offers more than just the materials within their walls. The library has an enormous digital collection they refer to as their eBranch. You can stream and download thousands of titles through some of the largest digital media services available.


OverDrive is one of the most popular digital media services that cater directly to libraries. With OverDrive you can stream music and movies. You can also download eBooks, magazines, and audio books.


Hoopla is another of the large digital services that are offered by many libraries. Hoopla has eBooks and audio books, but they are best known for their streaming music and movies.


Freading is one of the newer digital services available. It has a large selection of books available for download. That includes a large collection of Lonely Planet travel guides.


Formerly Zinio, RBDigital hosts a large collection of audio books and full-color magazines. You can download the most recent copies of top magazines as well as archives.


Freegal is a digital music service with over 15 million tracks available for streaming. That includes the entire Sony Music catalog. Additionally, Freegal also offers over 40,000 music videos.


Flipster bills itself as a “digital newsstand.” It has thousands of the most popular magazines available. The magazines are full-color and high quality. You can get current issues as well as back copies of select titles.


Kanopy is unlike any other streaming video service. It focuses on foreign films, short films, and indie works. While Kanopy doesn’t offer major domestic releases, it has a large selection of unique offerings.


TumbleBooks offers children eBooks and videos focused on learning. Each title has video and audio elements. TumbleBooks also includes games as well as music.

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