13 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do with a Library Card

Close your eyes and imagine a library. What do you see?

Books, probably. Lots and lots and lots of books. Rows upon rows, shelf after shelf.

And it’s true, libraries do have books. But we also have a lot more to offer than that.

From programs to digital resources, libraries today are a wonderful blend of community centre, learning institution, hangout and repository of knowledge.

Which is all to say, you can do a lot more with your Edmonton Public Library card than ever before—and it’s all completely, 100 per cent FREE.

So what are you waiting for? If you don’t already have an EPL card, sign up now—it takes less than five minutes!

1. Stream Movies and TV Shows

While you may know that you can sign out DVDs and Blu-rays from EPL, did you know that you can also get digital video?

Easily stream popular content on hoopla, ranging from Oscar-nominated films like I, Tonya to Disney movies like The Love Bug to popular favourites like Hairspray—and beyond!

Meanwhile, Kanopy is home to documentaries, Canadian cinema, independent films, world cinema and classic movies. Find titles that range from Hunt for the Wilderpeople to His Girl Friday to For the Love of Spock.

While you can watch on a computer, tablet or mobile device, both services also have Apple TV apps and hoopla is available for Amazon Fire. 

Who needs Netflix, when you’ve got a library card?

2. Learn a New Language

In addition to free programs and resources for English language learners (including opportunities to practice), EPL offers language learning tools that’ll have you speaking a second (or third, or fourth…) language in no time.

Choose from dozens of different languages and skill levels—whether you’re dedicated to becoming fluent or just want to learn enough to get by on your next trip—using Rosetta Stone, Mango Languages or Muzzy.

We also have a world languages collection, with books, newspapers, magazines and other items available in a range of languages. Learn more about our language offerings.

3. Play Video Games

Whether you’re a Call of Duty fan or Mario is more your speed, EPL has a ton of video games in our catalogue.

We’ve got games for you to borrow, ranging from classics to the current popular titles—though some may be in high demand, you can place a hold at anytime to secure your place in line.

Choose from games for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U and Wii. Grab a controller and your library card and check one out today!

4. Read the Edmonton Journal (and Tons of Other Newspapers and Magazines)

Keep up with today’s top headlines by using your library card to read the Edmonton Journal online. If you prefer a physical copy, visit one of our branches to browse the news in person.

And, that’s not all. We’ve also got access to thousands of newspapers and magazines from around the world, with titles from 100 countries in 60 languages through PressReader, Flipster and more.

5. Find Your New Favourite Recipe

Have you ever wanted to make authentic varenyky (Ukrainian potato dumplings) or bánh hành chiên (Vietnamese green onion pancakes, a past contender for Edmonton’s official dish)?  

With AtoZ World Food, you can!

Learn more about food history and culture while discovering thousands of traditional recipes from 174 countries. Or, check out our huge selection of cookbooks. Many are available in both physical and eBook formats.

6. Brush Up on Your Skills

You can learn just about ANYTHING online. Tackle new software, bring your business skills up to snuff, improve your digital competencies, master accounting and more.

With thousands of course available from Lynda.com and Gale Courses, you can do it all.

7. Listen to Audiobooks on the Go

Maybe you haven’t got much time for physical books or maybe you’re dying for something to do on your commute.

Either way, have we got a solution for you!

You can download and stream audiobooks, right from your phone, with your library card. For example, OverDrive’s Libby app is intuitive, easy-to-use and full of great audiobooks (and eBooks too).

8. Get Reading Recommendations

If you never know what to read next, NoveList, will help you find authors similar to your favourites, browse read-alikes or even search for your next read using words that describe the type of book you want to find. 

The TBR possibilities are virtually endless!

9. Discover a New Passion

Fancy taking up birdwatching?

Or want to delve into your family history and research genealogy?

Perhaps you’d like to teach yourself how to fix a car?

Whatever you have in mind, EPL is the perfect place to start a new hobby!

10. Explore Music from Around the World

Stream more than 12 million tracks, including classical music, contemporary world, jazz, independent popular music, Smithsonian Global Sound and American Song with Alexander Street Music.

Prefer your tunes a little closer to home? You can download songs from local bands and musicians completely free with Capital City Records.

11. Dive into Comics and Graphic Novels Online

Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy, Deadpool and more—the Marvel gang’s all here with digital comics available instantly on hoopla.

And that’s not all: whether you’re into The Walking Dead, Riverdale, the DC universe or discovering new stories, there’s no shortage of popular comics and graphic novels on hoopla.

(And EPL’s got physical copies available to borrow too, if that’s more your thing.)

12. Attend Free Speaker Events and Workshops

There’s always something happening at EPL!

Beyond our usual programs and activities, we host a series of talks on fascinating topics called On the Edge, run guest speaker events, hold workshops with our Writer in Residence, offer opportunities for Edmontonians to develop a deeper understanding of reconciliation and so much more.

13. Geek Out and Get Creative in the Makerspace

The Makerspace at our Enterprise Square Branch has everything you need to unleash your creativity and let your inner geek run free.

Try your hand at creating your own podcast or recording your own music in our soundbooths. We have everything you need to record and edit your masterpiece—you can even borrow instruments! Booths are available at Enterprise Square and Whitemud Crossing.

Explore virtual reality with the HTC Vive virtual reality headset, upgrade your memories with a digital conversion area (scanner and VHS to DVD converter), get your game on with gaming consoles and PCs, play with a green screen, learn to code with Raspberry Pi kits, play with robots and more—all completely free!

We also offer 3D printing, book printing and vinyl cutting for a minor fee (to cover the cost of materials).

Whatever you like to do, EPL’s here to help you follow your passion. You can always come into our branches and talk to our staff—we love to chat about books (and other resources), share recommendations and help in any way we can!

Get your FREE library card and get started today!

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