With in-person events and activities being canceled indefinitely and public places closed, everything has shifted to online—even libraries. And with National Library Week (April 19–25), you can still enjoy all of the free benefits of a library from the comfort of your home.
So whether you need a new novel to dive into or want to watch movies without paying a monthly subscription fee, here are five ways the library can save you money from Rebecca Gramuglia, consumer expert at TopCashback.com.
Books: Of course, the library can save you a lot of money on books. But borrowing physical books is temporarily out of the question. You can still read (or hear, if you’re into audiobooks) the text straight from your phone or tablet with apps like Libby that are free and connect directly to your library card. And if you’re a college student who will soon be writing midterm papers, use your school’s library or your local one to score free online access to journals, books and more.
Movies and shows: Paying for too many streaming services? Let your budget take a sigh of relief and see if your local library is partnered with platforms like Hoopla and Kanopy, which offer access to a variety of television shows, movies, music, audiobooks and more to choose from.
Educational tools: Whether you have a child studying for next year’s standardized tests, are planning to go to graduate school or want to better your workplace skills, see if your library is partnered with platforms like LearningExpress Library to help prepare. And if you’re a teacher or student, there are also free platforms like Shmoop to help with teaching guides and study resources.
Language resources: Want to learn a new language? Look to see if your library is connected to resources like Mango, Rosetta Stone or Little Pim (for your kids!) that can help you easily learn a language online.
Virtual classes: Libraries bring people and communities together through books, learning and events, but while in-person interaction is off the table, see if your library offers virtual workshops. Whether it’s storytime for kids, tai chi, guided meditation or guitar lessons or anything else, these events are free and may only require a library card.
And if you don’t have a library card, don’t worry. See if your library is offering applications for e-library cards during this time. That way, you can easily score these benefits and make your time at home a little more enjoyable.