How to get the most out of your library card

Nerd alert! I’m about to tell you how to get the most out of your library card.

I love the library. Loooooooove. And not just because I love to read (which I do). A library card opens up this whole world of new experiences. Books (obviously), movies, kids programming, community events, e-books, and more.

Plus, I don’t even have to search for what I want. I can request it, and POOF! my book or movie is waiting for me, tagged with my name, for whenever I’m ready to pick it up.

I’m going to tell you a few ways I make the most out of my library card. If I’m missing anything, please let me know. I would love to learn even more great ways to use this community resource.

Also, my library system may be different than yours. But hopefully these tips will come close to what you can do at your local library.

How to get the most out of your library card |

1. A personalized booklist – I am constantly reading blogs about books and talking about books with friends, and I used to make a mental list of everything I wanted to read. But then I would quickly forget. Now, I keep a running list on my library’s website called “to read.”

I log in with my library card and pin number, search for a book, then click “add to list.”

How to get the most out of your library card |

When I’m ready to read one of the books on my list, I click on the title and request the book from my local library branch. Which brings me to tip number two.

2. Request and pickup – Maybe you live in a city with a huge library that always has all the books in stock in an easy-to-find manner. My library is somewhat small and organized in a confusing way, so searching for books is not easy. When I figured out that I could request books, my reading life became instantly simpler. Instead of searching (and usually not finding) what I want to read, I go to my library website, type in the keywords (or click on a title from my “to read” list), and click “place request.”

How to get the most out of your library card |

When my book is ready, I get an email telling me to come pick it up within 7 days. I walk back to the hold shelves, find my name, and pick it up. Easy peasy. This is also helpful when I’m requesting a new book or movie that is popular and has a huge waiting list. I put my request in, read something else, and eventually get the email to pick it up. I don’t mind waiting because there are enough books on my list to cover me until it’s my turn.

3. E-book rentals – We just learned about this, and although I prefer real books, e-books are great for traveling. Go to to sign up with your local library.

How to get the most out of your library card |

4. Movies – Our library has DVDs and BlueRay movies that are FREE to rent for 7 days. I know not all libraries have free rentals (some are $1-2), but it’s worth checking out your local library policy. For new movies, I use the request system (described in tip #2) so I don’t have to keep checking the shelves.

5. Kids programs – Lego clubs, science labs, reading to pets, story time – libraries are incredible resources for families. Check out your library calendar for a list of events.

6. Preview before you buy – Sometimes I see a book and wonder if I should buy it. I’ll check it out from the library first, and if I decide to buy a copy, I’ll return it and buy one. If not, I have just saved myself some money. Use the library to preview books and movies before you buy them. (I do this a lot with cookbooks.)


So there you have it: How to get the most out of your library card. If you don’t have one, go get one. You too, could be a nerd like me.


  • Christine February 23, 2015 at 7:28 am

    I use my library card like a boss. And just saw that my local library is offering the ebooks too! I got so excited in the middle of the library that I felt like a TOTAL NERD, but then remembered that readers are learners! In fact, my teenager always asks me how I know so much stuff and I tell her it’s because I read – a lot. Now she’s a bookworm too and we call each other nerds πŸ™‚

    • InspiredRD March 2, 2015 at 9:05 am

      Yes! Nerds are the best πŸ™‚

  • steph February 23, 2015 at 7:30 am

    Love this! I visit so frequently that they see me walk in and grab my stack without me even giving my name. Library nerds rock!

  • Robin February 23, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Love, love, love!!! As a child, I remember lugging heavy bags full of books home from the library. Everything from autobiographies to interior design magazines that they hard-bound, you name it! Then came tons of reading assignments in high school, college, and then grad school, so the library took a back seat. I was thrilled beyond belief when I moved back home and took my young daughter (at the time) to my childhood library, only to discover it had been remodeled, expanded, had computer stations, you name it! Now 10 years old, it’s her favorite place. And last week she just checked out a massive decorating book- oh the memories!

    • InspiredRD March 2, 2015 at 9:05 am

      Love it! It’s so fun to see the library through your kids’ eyes, isn’t it?

  • Amanda February 23, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    I’m guess this is rare, but my library also lets you check some really cool things like art, book clubs to go, games, home tools and a lot of other neat things.

  • Alisa W February 23, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    Once I discovered the online reserve system my life became amaaazing! I still use pima county library for my ebooks… But casa grande public library is part of the greater phx network and I borrow my mom’s card number to get those ebooks too. So, if you have a penpal and are careful about returning ebooks as soon as you’re done, you can really max out your benefits!

    I went to my local library in SΓ£o Paulo this weekend. It’s really cute. They still use a date stamp card in their books (awwww). I have no idea if interlibrary loans exist here. But it reminded me of my childhood and I like that.

    • InspiredRD March 2, 2015 at 9:03 am

      Awww, I love the date stamp card.

  • Stephanie Sheaffer February 24, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Love libraries! We visit our local branch at least twice a week. πŸ™‚

    I hadn’t heard about libraries charging for DVD rentals. Thankfully, DVDs are free in our area too.

  • Rea February 25, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Ours also has audio books available on Overdrive. Digital magazines available with Zinio, and movies, music and tv episodes via Hoopla. I love my library. The reserve books online and pick them up was FABULOUS when I had young kids at home. Can’t exactly browse the shelves when you are trying to keep an eye on a preschooler, so it was great to be able to go in, spend time in the kids area with him, and then just grab the books that were ready and waiting for me on our way to the checkout. Oh, and Tumblebooks is great for kids if your library offers it…my kids loved the picture book read-alongs.

    • InspiredRD March 2, 2015 at 9:02 am

      Ooooh, I need to look into audiobooks. Thanks for reminding me about this. I’ll check out Tumblebooks too!

  • Debu February 25, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    Interesting to know the facts that how a library card could work for the most plus beneficial options in library. Its kind of technical issues which are helping all of the students to make the card fruitful in terms of picking and storing the books in smooth way. It’s an opportunity to all the students to groove in reading when anyone entering in to the library and making the best uses of the card. Also some essayontime reviews given on this.Therefore above mentioned technique should be beneficial for the students to cope in right time.

  • Danielle February 27, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    I’m so happy to see this! I want everyone to use the library! I don’t think a lot of people realize they offer so many ebook options.

    • InspiredRD March 2, 2015 at 9:02 am

      Thanks Danielle, and thanks for sharing the post!

  • Michelle B. March 2, 2015 at 4:18 am

    Love my library πŸ™‚
    I’m a teacher and like to stay up-to-date on some of the research on education. Unfortunately, most of the time, you have to pay to read online journals. Just last night, I discovered that my library gives free access to TONS of journals to its members!

    • InspiredRD March 2, 2015 at 9:00 am

      Oh that’s a great discovery!

  • Deanna Segrave-Daly March 2, 2015 at 7:14 am

    Such a great post – I feel like slowly discovered all these perks over the past few years especially after having a kid! And I’m so happy she seems to share my love for going to the library too and getting a huge bag of books. Nerds unite!

    • InspiredRD March 2, 2015 at 9:00 am

      Yes me too! I think having kids is what brought me back to the library.

  • Katy Hite March 3, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    I am a librarian so I just have to chime in to say “thanks for visiting!” πŸ™‚

  • Jessica Townes March 4, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    I’m completely obsessed with the library. I always joke (half-joke) that I want to be a librarian when I grow up. Here’s an ode to my library I wrote back in January, and though the giveaway is long closed, I think you would dig the bag at the end of the post. It also includes a link to my library’s website that estimates how much money you have saved on books…incredible to see. Thanks for sharing your library love!

  • Leigh Kramer March 4, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    I wish my library had an option for lists! That would be amazing. I do appreciate the request system. Sometimes I miss the good ol’ days of browsing but with so many branches in Nashville, the odds are rarely in my favor for the book I want to be at my specific branch.

  • Naomi Liz Figueroa March 5, 2015 at 4:43 am

    I also love using Overdrive for audio books! Plus, in PA you can have library cards for other counties, so I have 3 counties (including the huge Philly one) so I can browse the selection of ebooks and audio books of all three!

  • Shirley March 5, 2015 at 5:15 am

    Ooh also, magazines and daily issues of many different newspapers! Where I live (Toronto) that includes many different ethnic language newspapers too. Libraries also often subscribe to online research databases if you need academic articles for research. Some also subscribe to Mango languages ( for learning a new language)
    In Markham you can sign out pedometers. Yup, I’m a nerd!