3 Cool Things Your Library Card Is Good For (Other than Books)

Hands holding tablet taking picture of booksYou know, the Arthur cartoon was right: having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got your library card! As a librarian, I probably know this better than anyone. But a lot of people think of library cards as just being good for books, and while you can certainly use your card to catch up on your reading, that isn’t all that you can use it for. 

In honor of Library Card Sign-up Month, I wanted to share three other things that you can use your library card for aside from checking out physical books.


Audiobooks have never been more popular than they are right now. All it takes is listening to a handful of podcasts or watching a couple of YouTube videos to hear your favorite influencer shilling a pricey audiobook subscription service. We all love a good audiobook, but you don’t need to pay for them! We have thousands of audiobooks here at HCPL that you can check out for free with your library card, either on CD or downloaded right to your device through Overdrive and Libby, just like those fancy apps. Your ears (and your wallet) will thank you for getting your library card. 

Movies and TV 

Being a movie or TV buff in this day and age can get pretty expensive. Not only are movie theater tickets pricier than ever, but the once simple streaming ecosystem has now branched out into dozens of niche platforms, all requiring their own paid subscription. But we actually have a massive amount of movies and TV shows that you can watch and check out with your library card, free of charge. Not only do we provide the nostalgic experience of renting a DVD in person like you’re back at Blockbuster, but we also have access to streaming video through Overdrive and Kanopy. If you’ve been holding off on becoming a true film nerd, getting your library card may be just the push you need to do it. 

Interlibrary Loan 

I know what you’re thinking as you’re reading this: But what if the audiobook I want to listen to or the movie I want to watch isn’t in your collection? If you’ve got your library card, we’ve still got you covered through our interlibrary loan service. We partner with a huge number of libraries across the country, who all kindly allow our customers to check out their books, movies, TV shows, and audiobooks. If we don’t have something, there’s a good chance one of these other libraries does. Getting your HCPL library card doesn’t just open you up to resources here in Harris County: it opens you up to the whole world. 

There are so many great reasons to get your library card, and while I would love to keep you here all day and tell you about all of them, the best way to find out is to apply for your own. Stop by your local branch today or sign up for our digital iKnow card and find out about everything you’ve been missing! 

This blog was written by Elizabeth B. and first appeared in September 2021.