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Little-known perks at the Austin Public Library

The library’s services are pretty useful in our books.

The Central Austin Public Library at dusk.

The Austin Public Library has more than a dozen branches around the city.

Photo by ATXtoday

Table of Contents

Howdy y’all, City Editor Figi here. 👋

For the last two years, I’ve upheld a goal to read at least one book per month, so I’m at the central branch of the Austin Public Library a lot. Did you know books aren’t the only thing you can check out at the library?

Austin residents can pick up a library card for the low, low price of free, while non-residents can get an eCard for $22. Here’s what that little green card can get you.

🌱 Gardening supplies

If you have a green thumb, you might want to check out APL’s seed library — located only at the Central branch — where you can “borrow” or donate seeds for free. Gardening tools, water usage meters, rakes, and extension cords are also up for grabs.

💻 Technology

You probably already know that the library has free Wi-Fi, but did you know you can take the connection home with you? APL allows card holders to check out laptops, tablets, and Wi-Fi hotspots for up to three weeks.

🛠 Home tools

There’s no need to go out and buy a set of pliers, carpet fan, bike repair kit, or binoculars when you can borrow any one of those from the library. If you want to get super high-tech with it, check out a SunCalc to find out just how much light falls on your property.

✏️ Tools for learning

Trying to learn a new language? Access Mango Language for free and get support on 70+ languages — including 20 ESL programs. Homework tutors are available from 2-11 p.m. through Brainfuse HelpNow. You can also learn more about your heritage and family line through the library’s Ancestry database. And or refugees or those seeking naturalization, the library offers citizenship classes + resources for immigrants.

🎮 Entertainment

For the film buffs who can’t find their favorite flick on streaming sites, the library’s virtual entertainment portal offers thousands of movies, documentaries, and TV shows. Through Electric LadyBird, even Austinites without a library card can stream local music. Last but not least, if you’ve exhausted your to-be-read list, ask a librarian for some personal picks. They’ll take your favorite books, authors, and genres, to create an informed list of titles they think you’ll like.

But that’s not all the library has, bookworms. If your favorite library service isn’t on this list, let us know what we’re missing. Click here to find your local branch, and happy borrowing. 📚