Whoever said “there’s no such thing as a free lunch?”


You can get free books right around the corner – at your local library! While there are some books you want in your permanent collection, there are others you want to just peruse before committing. (And sometimes, a flip-through at the bookstore just isn’t enough!)

But how, oh how, do you start?

Fear not, the answers are below.

1. Get a library card

If you’re in Chicago, instructions are here. If not, go to the library and ask. Really, they want people to use the library, even when their behavior suggests otherwise.

2. Get to know your librarian

Sometimes, stereotypes exist for a reason. Yes, there are some scary, cranky librarians out there. But there are also a lot of really great ones. Take the time to talk to them and ask for their recommendations.

3. Use the online system to your advantage

The Chicago Public Library just revamped their website and it is sweeeeeeet. Create a login using your library card number. Then you can:

– check your record (“D’oh, guess that book was due yesterday!”)
– renew (“I could totally finish this is another 3 weeks..” Uh huh)
request materials from other libraries (“I am master of all branches! Bwah ha ha ha haaaaa.” This function is my favorite.)

If you do decide to request materials that are at another branch, please be courteous and pick the materials up (which you will be notified about via phone and email).

4. Use Their Programs

Many branches have regular story times that you sign up for, in addition to arts and crafts projects. Plus, you can pick up museum passes…AND IT’S ALL FREE!

Don’t like your local branch? Shop around and find one that you feel comfortable in. And if you’re a library geek like me, you’ll enjoy the following:


The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World

At Home with Books: How Booklovers Live with and Care for Their Libraries


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