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Don't Miss These 6 Library Card Discounts and Freebies

Young woman using laptop at the library

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A library card lets you increase your knowledge and escape into worlds beyond your own. If you have a library card in your wallet, you're probably aware that you can borrow books from your local library. But many libraries provide other services to patrons at no extra cost. All you have to do is get a library card to enjoy them. Let me share some discounts and freebies that could be available through your library system.

1. Access online newspapers and magazines

If you like to stay on top of the news but don't want to pay for a newspaper subscription fee, your library may be able to help out. Many libraries provide free online access to newspapers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Your library system might also offer free online access to local newspapers. Don't ignore this valuable educational resource.

2. Request museum and cultural activity passes

Another valuable resource your library system may provide is passes to museums and other cultural activities in your area. If you're a lifelong learner and want to avoid paying admission prices of $20 or more, check to see if your library offers free or discounted passes.

You may need to rent a pass before your intended visit date, so ask your library for more information before requesting a pass. Getting free or cheap access to a local museum could allow you to experience a fun afternoon of learning without draining your bank account.

3. Borrow audiobooks and ebooks for free

Many libraries partner with Libby to give patrons complimentary access to audiobooks and ebooks. If you prefer to read books on a Kindle or iPad or like listening to books, this could be a useful freebie. You'll need to link your library card through the app and then you can request books.

It's worth noting that if you're looking for a popular or brand-new book, you may need to wait several weeks (or months) before it's available to borrow. You can see how many others are waiting and an estimated timeframe for when you can expect a copy to be made available. I love using Libby.

4. Get free admission to state parks

Some libraries offer patrons free access to state parks. This could be a valuable benefit for those who enjoy hiking or spending time in nature. Park entry fees can eat away at your budget, so checking if your library offers this perk is worthwhile. You may need to request access to a pass in advance, so ask your library for more details.

5. Learn a new language without a subscription fee

Another service you may be able to enjoy by using your library card is free language learning. Many libraries partner with Mango to help patrons learn new languages. You can use the Mango website or mobile app to learn another language at your own pace. How cool is that?

6. Get help with homework

Many families have little extra money left over after paying the bills to afford a private tutor for their kids. But here's some good news: Some libraries offer complimentary tutoring services. If available, you and your children can get help with homework and other learning needs at no additional cost. In-person or online tutoring services may be available. This free service could help ease frustration, increase knowledge, and help your family save money.

A library card can improve your life

If you don't have a library card, now is an excellent time to get one. The many services your library provides could improve your life and help you keep more money in your pocket. It's free to get a card. For additional ways to save money, check out our personal finance resources.

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