Our family loves the library. We stop by at least once a week to grab a stack of books and a movie or two. For a while, that was the extent of our library interactions, but in the past few years, we have discovered that the public library can be a much bigger resource than we had imagined.

These days we take advantage of everything our local library has to offer, from programs and clubs to computers and classes. Plus, we have learned that there is way more to check out at the library than the typical hardback book.

Are you tapping into the full potential of your local library card?

5 things to check out other than books:

1. Cookbooks

I don’t know about you, but I have had to purge my cookbook library one too many times. These days when I want to try out a new cookbook, I get it from the library first.

That way I can try it out for a few weeks to see if it’s actually worth buying. This also works well for some of the more exotic cookbooks that you know you might only use once or twice.


2. Exercise DVDs

Sometimes I get bored of the same old workout routine, so it’s nice to be able to mix it up without paying for a new program.

Try using the online search function at your library to see what workout DVDs they have to offer, then simply place a request and pick it up when it’s ready.

3. Foreign Language Instruction

Depending on your local library, you can check out language-learning DVDs, kits, or even get free access to online programs. For example, our library in Texas is set up with Mango Languages which offers 60 foreign language courses we can take on our computer or smartphone.

5 things to check out at the library

4. E-books & Audiobooks

Did you know you can borrow e-books and audiobooks with your library card?

Simply go to Overdrive.com to search for your local library. Once you’re set up, you can request the titles you want and they will be delivered to your kindle or phone, or wherever you have the app installed.

This is a great option for traveling. Your library might also be set up with Hoopla which offers the addition of video streaming.

5 things to check out at the library

5. Museum Passes

Many libraries offer passes to local museums and parks. Depending on the way your library sets it up, you might request free passes for a specific date, or be able to check out a Museum Pass for up to one week of free entry to multiple museums. This is a great way to experience local art, history, and science as a family for free.

These are just a few examples of some of the great things public libraries offer. I have heard of libraries loaning out everything from power tools to musical instruments, photo-editing software to fishing poles.

Every library is different and I encourage you to get familiar with yours. Who knows what resources you could be tapping into!