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Free Stuff at the Library That You Never Knew Existed

free stuff at the libraryI remember going to the library when I was a little kid, and guess what I went there for? Umm, yeah, books, because that’s all they had! Today, things are very different at the library. The card catalog days are long gone (am I old enough to start aging myself with comments? That’s depressing). To find an item’s location today, you simply run a search through one of their many computers.

When you check something out at the library, they definitely don’t stamp those little cards in the books anymore (sheesh…I think I AM old). Nope. When I check out 10 books I just stack them all on this plastic mat and BOOM, all the books are checked out at once. The library really is going high-tech these days. Can you guess what else they offer? The list below may shock you.

Free Stuff at the Library – My Shocking List

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love free stuff (or at the very least, really cheap). This is why I have been drawn into the library once again – everything about it spells “FREE”! Check out my recent discoveries of free stuff at the library (or more specifically, at my local library, but hopefully yours too!) that I never before knew existed.

#1. Electricity Home Monitoring Kits – Many libraries now have these electricity home monitoring kits on hand. You can check them out, plug them into an outlet, and then plug any device into it to see how much juice it’s sucking, and ultimately, how much it is costing you when it’s running! I used it on my sump pump that runs every 2 minutes or so…and I probably shouldn’t have. That sump pump is doing a great job keeping my basement dry, but it’s costing me over $100 a year to run.

#2. Free Database for Everything Imaginable – When I click into the database section of my library page, I get all of the options below. Then, when I click on the selection it takes me to many subsections of those databases. Naturally, I clicked on “Business and Investing” and was surprised to find the MorningStar research tool. With my library bar code and pin number, I was able to access what would have otherwise cost me a membership fee!

free stuff at the library


The next link I clicked on was Car Repair and curiously entered in my car’s year, make, and model. I know that I’ll have to bleed the brakes on my car soon, so I thought I would look for instruction on that. Sure enough! It was super easy to find and showed me step by step instructions with pictures! This database is awesome! The multitude of free stuff that you can find at the library – who knew?

#3. Learn a Language – If you were thinking about spending hundreds of dollars to learn a new language, STOP! The library has language software for FREE!! I learned Spanish long ago and would like to brush up some day soon – and guess what I found? Check it out – I can’t wait to test this out!

free stuff at the library - spanish lessons

#4. Story Time – This isn’t necessarily all that interesting for me (a 29 year old male with no kids…), but if you have kids, check out if your library has story time. It is a great excuse to get out and enjoy some free activities (and possibly sneak away to enjoy yourself for a few minutes as well – within the confines of the library of course).

#5. Job & Career Accelerator – Looking for a job or want to accelerate your career? Apparently the library has help for this too!

#6. Legal Forms for Wills, Divorce, Real Estate, and more – Instead of paying out $35 to purchase a living will from a trusted website (or many times more if I went straight to a lawyer), I decided to check out my local library. Sure enough, they offer forms for many different types of situations, including a last will and testament – exactly what I was looking for!

…and if you have a tablet…

I recently bought a tablet and have used it WAY more than I thought I would. Of course, I’m using it to Tweet and send Facebook updates for this site, but I have also discovered the many high-tech options that are free from the library! Check it out!

#7. Downloadable Music – Through freegal and hoopla, I have access to millions of downloadable songs and thousands of music videos! For me, free stuff like this is a way better option than buying a CD from the store or downloading a single for a dollar off iTunes.

#8. Audio Books – While music is great, sometimes I’m more in the mood to learn, especially for long drives. This is where free audio books are amazingly handy! To check them out from the library, I simply go through the library site and it shows up for use in Overdrive app. When the time is up for viewing it, it simply goes away (no more fees for not bringing the books back! Yay!).

free stuff at the library#9. eBooks – I admit it, reading a book on a tablet just isn’t quite the same, but it’s free and it’s easy (again, through the Overdrive app). What more can you ask for?

#10. Movies – It was pretty surprising to see some decent movies in the hoopla library app. My girlfriend and I have already viewed one and it was excellent! I’m still trying to figure out how to cast it to my TV though…

#11. eMagazines – I, being a personal finance guy, was excited to find the Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine through the library zinio app. The download is super simple and again, it just disappears when you timeframe is expired. There are also magazine titles like, “Better Homes and Gardens”, “Bloomberg”, “The Economist”, and many more! Again, for FREE! 🙂

#12. Digital Comics – And, surprisingly enough, they’ve also set up a way for you to check-out free digital comics. I’ve never really been a comic book guy, but I still think it’s a pretty cool option that some might enjoy.

Save Your Money and Check Out Your Local Library

There are probably a ton more free options that I missed, and your library might even offer more than mine! If you want to save money and stay entertained at the same time, be sure to check out all of the free stuff at the library in your area!

What type of free stuff does your library provide? Have you even checked it out?



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Well that does it. I’ve been meaning to go check out our local library to see what it offers for a while now. This article just gave me the boost I needed to head over there. Thanks!

    • Ha! Yeah, it’s crazy how many free options they have, especially if you own a tablet! Go check it out – hopefully your local library has even more free options than mine! Thanks for dropping by Mr. Self Reliance!

  2. Haven’t been to the library in a while. We used to go to our local library to check out VHS movies when the kids were little. I’ll have to check out an emagazine or two!

    • I kind of forgot about the library for a long time, but it is seriously impressive (hence the article)! Definitely check your out and let me know if you were as impressed as I was.

  3. I like getting the free family passes to local museums. They even have family skiing passes at our library!

    • I didn’t hear about free family passes! I’ll have to check if my library does anything like that!

  4. Overdrive is wonderful.

    My wife has a Kindle and was complaining about how Amazon charges effectively the same for an ebook as the physical book. So I went to the library and found she can check out ebooks for free.

    The best part? Since the library is aggressively expanding their ebook collection, if there’s a specific book she wants and it isn’t there, the library is very responsive and open to suggestions on what to purchase next. Frequently she’s requested a new book and received it within a month.

    I love physical books. But ebooks and ebook readers are incredibly useful, but it’s the library that makes it affordable.

    • Yup! Glad someone else is utilizing it! I didn’t think I would really use my tablet that often, but with all the free resources I’m finding, I use it all the time! Love it!

  5. I actually have used the databases quite a few times! When I was looking for a job in my current area, I used the library databases to find all the local companies in the sector I wanted to work in. It worked. 🙂

    • Yes! Way to use the database! I’m starting to hop in there all the time and it is incredibly useful! I still have not yet started my Spanish lesson though – soon…hopefully. 🙂

  6. Free training. How to use the internet, how to use Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Publisher. How to use one’s tablet/Kindle to download e-books.

    My library also has “gaming” days in the big conference room. Small study rooms for small meetings or for studying. Children’s computers, adult computers computerized book catalogs, online renewal of books (but not renewal of the DVD’s/Bluerays….too popular).

    Plus they sell donations of books all the time and have twice yearly book sales.

    In the summer they have adult and children’s book reading programs where one can read to earn free food coupons to restaurants and prizes. I once won a $30 gift certificate to Amazon, plus dinner for two at Olive Garden, just for keeping track of my books read in the summer.

    Love the library!

    • Awesome! Yes, the free classes are wonderful for those that are interested in learning and would like a helping hand. Thanks for adding to my list, Gail!

  7. I love my library. They also offer a ton of classes, like photoshop, quickbooks, etc. for PC’s and Macs. The best part is I can login from home and participate in the class, but from the comfort of my home. It’s really amazing. Our tax dollars pay for this, so might as well utilize it!

    • Oooo, I should probably take one of those graphics classes. I suuuuck at graphic design. That’s awesome that the class is offered online. Libraries are AWESOME!! 🙂

  8. Our libraries here are not as evolved, but there’s a wealth of good books and newspapers to be read though.

    • Still good! Thanks for the comment dojo!

  9. Thanks for sharing!! I’ve been wanting to go to our library just so I can get access to ebooks that I can borrow but I keep coming up with excuses for not going. I had no idea though of all of this really cool stuff. Now I am making a point to hit up my library and see what it has to offer!

    • Yup, you need to stop all those excuses and head there now! It will probably save you loads of money once you discover all of the resources they have available to you!

  10. This post also inspired me to go to my library today. With all three kids, we found a pile of great books, and several free movies. They also fairly new movies for $1, and a huge selection of prime time tv shows on DVD there, for free, even the Cosbys (since you can’t see that on tv anymore)!
    While browsing the children’s books the librarian came over and asked if I needed any help, I asked her if there was a limit to the amount of books I could check out. She replied “a hundred,” we both had a good laugh and I got no where near my limit!

    • That’s awesome! Great job getting to your local library! Be sure to check out their offerings from your iPad as well (assuming you have one). It’s amazing all the things they offer!

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