If you live in Seattle and don’t have a library card, allow us to convince you that you need one. You might be surprised to learn about some of the things you can do with a library card here in Seattle. Museum visits, movie streaming, and online classes are just a few of things that you can do for free with your library card. The Emerald City can be expensive, so why not take advantage of every free library card “hack” that you can?
Here all the things that you can do with a Seattle library card:
1. Get a free museum pass
If you have a library card, there’s no need to wait for Seattle’s free museum day every month. You can reserve a free pass to a museum every 30 days after your last visit. Each pass admits at least two people. Here are all the museums that you can visit for free with your Seattle library card:
- Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)
- Seattle Art Museum (SAM)
- Burke Museum
- National Nordic Museum
- Center for Wooden Boats (this pass lets one adult and up to three other people use one of the Museum’s historic row boats on Lake Union for one hour for free!)
- Museum of Flight
- Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI)
- Wing Luke Museum
- Henry Art Gallery
New passes become available every day after noon. Get yours on the library’s museum pass page.
2. Visit the Seattle zoo and aquarium for free
The fun doesn’t stop at the museum. You can also use your Seattle library card to visit the Seattle Aquarium and the Woodland Park Zoo for free! The zoo pass admits four people (children age 2 and under are always admitted for free) and the aquarium pass covers four people as well (children age 3 and under are admitted for free). These are both part of the library’s museum pass program so make sure to reserve your slot on the library website.
3. Check out more than just books
You can borrow up to 50 books at once from the Seattle Public Library, but that’s not all. This also applies to DVDs, CDs, magazines, and newspapers. You can request items for pickup at any Library branch (there are 27 locations throughout Seattle!). And as long as no one is waiting for them, you can renew your borrowed items up to two times.
4. Download everything from e-books and audiobooks to music
The Seattle Public Library has thousands of e-books and audiobooks that can be downloaded to most devices via OverDrive. You can also have access to the Libby app which makes it easy to sync your borrowed e-books and audiobooks across devices. While you’re at it, use your library card to download free music, videos, and magazines.
5. Stream movies and TV on your own device for free
Did you know your Seattle library card lets you stream music, movies, and TV on your own computer or device? Check out the library’s movies and TV page to see the full catalogue and for more information.
6. Bypass paywalls for online periodicals
Frustrated by a paywall as you’re trying to read an online article? If you go log into your library account and visit the online resources page, you can read free articles from publications such as The Seattle Times. See the full list of magazines and newspapers available here.
7. Use online resources and databases for free
Need to do some deep-dive research for a class, your business, or personal use? Check out these online resources and databases that you can access with your library card:
- The general research page has links to resources such as Black Life in America, Consumer Reports, and Driving Tests.
- The student research page has resources such as free online tutoring for students, career information, the online Encyclopedia Britannica, and more resources for students from elementary school to college.
- The genealogy resources page has tools for exploring your family history.
- The consumer and DIY resources page lets you look up consumer reports, product reviews, and information for DIY mechanics.
Those are just a few of the categories; see them all on the library’s online resources page!
8. Go to free events for writers
If you’re a writer in Seattle—or just looking for a new hobby or something social to do—you should take advantage of the library’s free drop-in writing circles. They meet once a month at the Fremont branch and virtually as well. The library also hosts a free monthly reading series with an open mic and author readings at the Columbia branch. You can get information about these events on the library’s Writing Calendar page.
9. Take free online classes
Want to learn something new? Use your library card to take a free online class in almost any topic from photography to programming, learn a new language (even American Sign Language), or get free online tutoring. Check out the library’s Online Learning page to see all that is offered.
10. Use it for your business
Want to apply for a grant? Or invest in the stock market? Maybe you’re trying to start a business. For all of those purposes and more, visit the library’s Business, Finance, and Fundraising page for free resources.
Convinced? You can sign up for your Seattle library card here.