Sistah Girls, I know we live in a very digital world and people are making fewer and fewer trips to the library but did we forget all the cool resources the library has?

Growing up, the library was the spot mainly because it was a free place to chill and do my homework with my friends. I remember walking around with my library card like I had the key to the city.

And even though so much has changed since I was a kid, one thing still remains the same–the library is still the spot, and having a library card is still like having the key to the city.

Here are a few reasons why you should visit the library and own a library card…

Black History

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is a research library and it’s part of the New York Public Library. The amazing thing about the Schomburg is that because it’s a library people have access to the papers and writings of our Black authors, poets, and playwrights, for free.

The Schomburg is broken up into five parts: Art and Artifacts Division Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books Division Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division Photographs and Prints Division. The Schomburg houses original works from Maya Angelou, James Balwin, Malcolm X, and so many more. You have access to all of these original works for free.

And if you can’t make it to the Schomburg in person you can still do research from home with their digital collection. 

LinkedIn Learning

Sis, allow me to put you on game, Lynda Learning was a platform that provided skill-training courses ranging from editing videos to learning Excel. Lynda Learning is now with LinkedIn and is now LinkedIn Learning.

If you sign up today you’d pay a monthly fee BUT if you have a library card it’s FREE to use.

Two woman at the library sitting at a desk

Get Your Books Delivered

Now, what now! Yup, you read that correctly, Library by Mail is a program designed to help people who cannot physically get to the library but still want their books.

You can register for the program, and after that, select the books you want, and they will be delivered to your doorstep with a return slip free of charge.

Passport Service

If you want to apply for a passport and/or passport card then you can go to the library and get assistance. You can make your appointment online, bring in your required documents and the library will take care of the rest.

Trust me, going to the library is so much easier than going anywhere else because people barely take advantage of this so there is never a wait.

 A reading tablet sitting on a table with a cup of coffee and reading glasses

Download E-Books

There is a whole petition going around to help authors because people are downloading books and returning them. Sis, if you want to read books for free all you need is a library card. If your library is partnered with Libby, OverDrive, or Hoopla you can sign up using your library card and begin downloading books and they will be delivered to your tablet (and this includes audiobooks).

The good thing about borrowing books digitally is that once your lending period expires, you don’t have to worry about returning the books in person or getting hit with any late fees, they will expire on your tablet until you borrow them again.

Stream Movies

Sis, don’t let these movie streaming services keep your pockets in a chokehold, if you have a library card you can stream movies for free! Visit Hoopla, sign up, and flourish. This is also good when you’re looking for old films or films that aren’t offered by popular streaming services. And remember, most people overlook the library to use as a movie streaming service, so take advantage.

Learn a New Language

Sabías (did you know) that you can learn a whole new language for free if you have a library card? Mango Languages has over 70 languages available for people to learn and offers thousands of libraries their service for free. There is a monthly subscription fee to use this service but why pay if you have a library card?

Black woman sitting at a computer desk drinking coffee

Read Old Magazines and Newspapers

When doing research we often need access to old newspapers and magazines. PressReader is an app that allows you to read old magazines and newspapers for free if you have a library card.

And the cool thing about the app is that it features magazines and newspapers from around the world.

Workshops and Classes

There are always workshops and classes being held at the library, they have a whole budget allocated to education. And since the pandemic, a lot of these classes have gone virtual, so you can attend from the comforts of your own home.

At Brooklyn branches, for example, they offer free tax prep classes, citizen prep classes, resume coaching, chess workshops, writing workshops, and so much more. Sis, look up your branch, visit their website, and see what workshops and events you can attend to enhance your skills for free.

A Free Space to Work

Now you might say duh Sharee, everyone knows this, but do you know how many people overlook the library when trying to find a free place to work? People will often rave about going to their local cafe (in which you have to buy something to stay) because it’s cheaper than a coworking space and overlook their neighborhood library that’s free to work in.

Sistah Girls, I hope this list has made you dust your library card off because we definitely need to take advantage of all the resources that our local libraries offer.



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