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Your Library Card = Free Museum Passes & More!

Your Library Card = Free Museum Passes & More!

Have you been to your local library lately? If you don’t have a library card, then you could be missing out on some major perks! You could enjoy FREE museum admission, FREE subscription services, FREE movie streaming and so much more with your library card.

That’s right! I said library card.

If you still think your local public library is just aisles of books, a few computers, and the occasional story time for kids, then keep reading! Reuters found that two-thirds of Americans never go to the library, so libraries across the US are adapting to attract new visitors.

We’ve been researching hidden benefits all over the US, and have found some absolutely incredible things. In order to see what we’ve found in your area, select your state from the alphabetized state list below!

Free streaming services and other digital media let you access free movies, music, and audiobooks from home.

woman streaming media

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You could get access to streaming services through your local library. There are about 4000 participating libraries around the world, so check to see if your local library is one of them.

Here is a list of some of the streaming services you can get:

  • Kanopy – Has classic films and documentaries, even from independent productions. You can use it on the app on either Android or Apple.  
  • Hoopla – Has eBooks, current movies, and TV shows from well-known titles to unknown classics. You can watch on your phone, as well as your computer, 
  • Film Platform – A streaming service for documentaries and it is exclusive to libraries. 
  • Overdrive – Has eBooks, audiobooks, and other academic video content designed to encourage learning and further education.   
  • Docuseek2 – A great resource for documentaries and feature films based on true stories or historical events, as well as videos about art or even geography.
  • LinkedIn Learning – Has how-to videos filmed by professionals to help educate you on almost any topic you can think of. They are all about DIY and self-learning. 
  • Acorn TV – If you like British shows and movies, this may be the streaming service for you. 
  • Swank Digital Campus – Has 25,000 films to choose from some of the first cinemas ever made to the present-day movies we love and enjoy.
  • IndieFlix – Has independent films of short and feature-length. Most of these features are little-known movies, but they have a lot of foreign films you can enjoy.
  • Infobase – Has educational videos, archived news footage, documentaries, and even health and wellness videos. 
  • YourCloudLibrary – Has audiobooks that you can enjoy for free on you Windows or Mac computer, as well as, your Android or iPhone.

Most of these services have convenient apps you can use on your smartphone, so you don’t even have to visit your local branch to view this material. You’ll be able to access it anywhere that you can connect to the Internet!

If your library doesn’t have what you’re looking for in their system, check to see if they have reciprocal agreements with other library systems. You can easily get cards at multiple library systems, giving you even more access to FREE digital media.

A Library of Things can let you borrow items for free so you don’t have to buy them!

love Library of Things. Not every library system offers this, but many do. The Library of Things allows you to borrow items and equipment directly from your local branch. We’ve found systems that let you check out sewing machines, drum sets, guitars, GoPro cameras, cake pans, telescopes, exercise equipment, cameras and more.

You may even be able to check out WiFi hotspots, so you can get free Internet in your home!

Free Makerspaces provide cheap opportunities for creativity and invention!

If you’re a creator (or an aspiring creator) of any kind, or just like to understand how things work, then you need to know about Makerspaces! Epic Makerspaces are being added to library systems across the US. These elite, state-of-the-art innovation centers feature high-tech equipment specifically for public use. Several branches offer 3D printers, milling machines, soldering stations, recording studios, green-screen video studios, video editors and even printing presses!

These spaces usually offer classes to help you learn how to use the equipment. In most cases, access to the Makerspace is free. However, there may be a small cost for whatever materials you use.

Free online courses, classes, and software let improve your life at your own pace.

Want to learn another language, improve your job skills, prepare for certification exams or just learn something new? It can be challenging to find time to dig into these subjects. That’s why it’s so beneficial that so many libraries are now offering free digital access to abundant learning software. These programs are easy to use at home and may be accessible through your local library system.

While researching these articles, I’ve found that most libraries offer access to the following learning software like: 

  • Mango Languages – Offers small, digestible language lessons whether you are trying to learn English as a second language or trying to learn new language altogether.
  • Lynda.com – Now LinkedIn Learning, Lynda.com is known for its how-to videos created by professionals who wish to educate you on almost anything you can think of. If you like DIY projects and self-learning, this may be the site for you. 
  • Microsoft Imagine Academy – This program is available only to Washington State residents. They offer learning courses with videos, practice files, and study guides for computer science, IT infrastructure, and data science. 
  • Universal Class – Offers online courses that you can take for free if you belong to a participating library. These courses are at your own pace, but you can connect with the professor via email if you need.,
  • Learning Express – Offers courses and resources for students from the 4th grade to the start of their career. From practice SAT tests to Core Life skills, this site has everything that a developing learner needs. 

These services can help you master the skills you need improve your life at your own pace. And, with your library card, it may all be free!

Free museum passes provide endless adventures for low cost!

Many libraries offer free museum passes to local zoos, aquariums, children’s museums, art museums, and more! These cultural partnership initiatives are especially beneficial to low income families. While most libraries have at least a few passes, some places offer a lot of them. In California and Michigan, library cardholders can access hundreds of free venues!

Museum passes can usually be reserved online but have to be picked up from your local library. Some of them are just paper certificates that can be thrown away after they’re used and others have to be returned to the branch. For more information on what your library offers, choose your state from the list below!

Fortunately for you, we’re super-sleuths when it comes to secret benefits. There’s nothing we love more than freebies!

In fact, we only started this series when I discovered some crazy benefits at my local Washington library systems. I’ve lived here my entire life and I had no idea I could save money on trips to the Seattle Aquarium or MoPOP or KidsQuest Museum. As soon as I found out about these programs, I wanted to share them and help you discover the hidden library perks in your local community!

What can your library card do?

Select your state from the list below! We have alphabetized the list in order to make it easier to use.

If your local library isn’t listed, let us know and we’ll add it to our research list! It can take a while for our researchers to catch up with the list (there are a lot of libraries in the US!) but we’ll do our best to get that information to you as quickly as we can. Leave a comment with what library you’d like us to add next! Be sure to tell us what specific library system to research.

Here’s what we’ve found so far:

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Missouri

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

Ohio

Oregon

Oklahoma

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

Tennessee

Texas

Virginia

Washington

Washington DC

Wisconsin

Save Money & Get Free Stuff!

Nicole leads the Low Income Relief team with over 20 years of professional research and writing experience. Nicole started Low Income Relief after a personal experience with poverty. When her husband was medically discharged from the US Army, their family experienced tremendous financial hardship. Nicole was able to gather help from multiple community agencies and move into a nearby low income housing unit in just two weeks! Since then, Nicole has been dedicated to helping low income families in crisis. She regularly spends hundreds of hours combing through countless resources to make sure that Low Income Relief has the most comprehensive and complete resource directories on the internet today. Prior to starting Low Income Relief, Nicole worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. Her work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, eHow, Livestrong, Legal Beagle, The Daily Herald, The Chronicle and more.

Susan

Thursday 14th of July 2022

My state isn't on the list - Mississippi

Catherine Marucci

Thursday 14th of July 2022

Hi Susan. Here are some other forms of low-income relief that we have found in Mississippi >>> https://lowincomerelief.com/category/mississippi/

Myeesa

Monday 4th of April 2022

HI ! i was just wondering if you could find a list of things to do in Alabama please. Auburn, Alabama to be specific.

Isaac

Tuesday 12th of April 2022

Information on this should be in the article above. Chat with Lira, she might be able to help! https://lowincomerelief.com/chat/

Victoria

Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

No Maine link at all?

Isaac

Thursday 31st of March 2022

Great question! I’ll get that added to our research list and we’ll get that information added as soon as we can.

Jeanette Rae Sroga

Monday 6th of December 2021

Baldwin county Alabama

Isaac

Tuesday 7th of December 2021

Thanks for letting me know! I’ll get that added to our research list and we’ll get that information added as soon as we can.

Kyle Dahlstedt

Friday 8th of October 2021

I live in wheatland wyoming there's no listings for wyoming at all. It would really b nice tho to b able to check out a hotspot from the library for internet.

Isaac

Monday 29th of November 2021

Thanks for letting me know! I’ll get that added to our research list and we’ll get that information added as soon as we can.