Use Your Card

Patrons checking out DVDs

Public libraries empower us all. Here are just a few of the amazing ways your library card gives you more opportunities to learn and grow.

If you’re new to the library

Log in. Monitor your library account online, find a title in the catalog, and place holds. You can log in with your library card number and PIN through the library’s website (where you can set your account notification preferences) and download the new library app to your device.

Check out. Choose from nearly 10 million physical titles—books, movies, music, magazines—in our collections. And if you still can’t find what you’re looking for, we’ll help you find it from almost any public library across the United States. 

Get suggestions. Fill out a quick questionnaire, and our librarians will send you personalized recommendations on what to read, watch, or listen to next. And sign up for emails to get suggestions in the genres you love.

If you’re raising kids

Play and learn. Check out one of our Discovery Kits, full of activities that will have you exploring nature, making art and music, coding, and more. And borrow one of our American Girl Dolls, which come with their own books and accessories.

Stream quality content. Watch quality shows and movies that promote empathy, mindfulness, and self-esteem, including global films just for kids ages 2-16, from Kanopy Kids and Facets Kids.

Borrow more than books. Check out a Museum Adventure Pass for offers and discounts to kid-friendly destinations, including the Bronzeville Children’s Museum, The Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn, and Legoland Discovery Center. And new this fall, Explore More Illinois offers discounts at Illinois cultural attractions, such as the Chicago Children’s Museum.

If you’re anywhere, anytime

Save on subscriptions. Download and keep the latest issues of popular magazines, read full issues of Consumer Reports online, get ratings of local businesses and service providers with Consumers’ Checkbook, and access 1,000+ online art and craft video classes on Creativebug. And, of course, stream lots of movies, TV shows, audiobooks, and music.

Learn new languages. Reach conversational proficiency with the Mango Languages app, which offers more than 70 world languages including English as a Second Language, French, Spanish, and Japanese.

Achieve personal and professional goals. Improve your business, software, tech, and creative skills with video courses from Lynda.com. And get live, interactive online help when you’re searching for a job (through Brainfuse JobNow).

If you want to learn and do more at your library

Why libraries

  • Using a library is such an individual experience, based on unique goals, wants, and needs. Yet it is also a community experience, of shared spaces and communal resources, open to all. Check out a few more things we’ve learned about why communities need libraries. More »

« Back to Library Cards

Stay current on news and new arrivals.