8 Reasons to Sign Up for a Library Card

When I moved to Grand Forks over 12 years ago, one of the first things I did was sign up for a library card. I was newly married, newly employed, and newly… bored! We didn’t have kids yet, and up until this stage of life, my nights and weekends had primarily consisted of studying or working.

Money was tight, but I had all the time in the world to rekindle my childhood love: reading. Enter Grand Forks Public Library!

Twelve years later, with a busy life and two kids in elementary school, I don’t have nearly as much free time on my hands. Yet, we still use the library in many ways. Whatever season of life you’re in, I highly recommend signing up for a library card. (And, I’m not just saying that because I’m the marketing director and it happens to be library card sign-up month. 😉) In no particular order, here are eight reasons to get yourself carded.

1. Books. Obviously. All those trips to Target are a little cheaper without tossing a $20 book in your cart. And, now that I have two girls who love reading as much as their mama, the savings really start to add up. One thing I love is at the bottom of our receipts, there’s a tally of how much money you’ve saved by checking out books instead of buying them. Eye-opening!

2. Audiobooks on Libby. Every day possible, I take my mini goldendoodle, Ragnar, for a walk. While I love the crunch of gravel roads, even better is a riveting audiobook in my earbuds. Rather than pay for it, I borrow audiobooks for free through the Libby app. My Goodreads list has grown significantly as I’m always reading (usually fiction) and listening to (usually nonfiction) a book. (Currently listening to and loving Broken Horses: A Memoir by Brandi Carlile.) Also, did you know Libby has audiobooks for kids? My daughters have listened to Harry Potter, Magic Misfits, and more through Libby.

3. Kanopy. Our family loves a good movie night (complete with buttery popcorn and cozy quilts, of course), and Kanopy delivers! Whether you’re looking for a kid-friendly film, an at-home date night pick, or even an educational documentary—Kanopy is loaded with new and interesting films to stream, for free with your library card. In fact, when my kids were out of school last year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we pulled up several educational films to learn more about his life.

4. Video games and board games. My husband never quite grew out of gaming, and now our girls know how to run the controllers. (I still just push all the buttons, which works surprisingly well if we’re playing Gang Beasts or Mortal Kombat.) Grand Forks Public has a wide variety of the latest video games. Sometimes it’s fun to disconnect and enjoy board games instead—the library has those, too! And the collection continually grows.

5. Photo printing. I post a million pictures on Instagram, but rarely do I actually take time to print photos. Printing photos feels extra special, like stepping back in time when we used to sit and look at a roll of photos together after a trip. (Remember that? Does that make me old?!) Grand Forks Public has a Print Budii station, where you can connect your phone and, for a small fee, instantly print high quality photos off your camera roll. Yes please, say cheese!

“Libraries are one of the few public spaces where you’re allowed to exist without the expectation of spending any money.”

-Neil Gaiman

6. Cozy space to read, relax, be. One of my favorite library quotes is: “Libraries are one of the few public spaces where you’re allowed to exist without the expectation of spending any money.” [Paraphrased from this essay by Neil Gaiman.] Whether you curl up in a big chair on a cold winter day, or take a few moments to feel like a kid again on our wooden swings, the library is one place you can take a break from the hustle and bustle without being expected to spend money.

7. State Park Pass. We love hikes at Turtle River State Park, especially in the fall when those jewel-toned colors burst into reality. Rather than buy a pass for the weekend, did you know you can check out a state park pass (again, for free) through the library?! Pack some snacks and maybe a library book or two, and you’ve got yourself a fun weekend adventure.

8. Take & Make Craft Kits & Creativebug. While I’m a clean freak by nature, I do love a good old-fashioned craft project or baking adventure taking over our kitchen. Take & Make Craft Kits, which the library offers monthly through a partnership with the North Dakota Museum of Art and ArtWise, encourage creativity for all ages. In addition to the monthly kits, Creativebug is full of creative video tutorials for makers of all ages—free with your library card.

This list just scratched the surface of everything Grand Forks Public has to offer. In fact, here’s an iceberg graphic to give you a better idea of the big picture:

Ready to sign up? Library cards are free for everyone in Grand Forks County. Out-of-county cards are just $5/month or $25/year.

Whether you’re looking for an escape or self-development or a unique resource or something else entirely—the library truly has something for everyone. Get your library card today.

Angie Laxdal

Angie serves as the marketing director at Grand Forks Public. Originally from Crystal, N.D., she graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in public relations and advertising in 2009. Outside of work, Angie enjoys reading and writing. She and her husband have two daughters and enjoy country life on the outskirts of Thompson.

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