Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card, but fun is only one of many things you can have when you visit one of Salt Lake County’s libraries. Not only does the library give you access to thousands of books and movies, it also offers classes, clubs, educational resources, and much more.
Here are seven awesome services you can get from the Salt Lake County Libraries that you might not have known about.
County Wide Checkout
One of the greatest things about the Salt Lake County Library system is that signing up for one card gives you checkout access to every library in the county–that’s eighteen libraries! The best part is that if you live in Salt Lake County, cards are free.
To get a card, visit your local library and speak to a librarian. You’ll need a current, official photo ID, proof of your birth date, and proof of a current Salt Lake County address, such as a recent bill or other mail item. Once you provide those items, you can sign up for the Basic Library Card or an Expanded Library Card. The Basic Card allows you to check out up to 13 items at a time (with a maximum of three DVDs and three CDs) and place up to five items on hold. Get an Expanded Card and you’ll be able to check out up to 100 items at a time and put 25 items on hold.
New to Salt Lake County? No worries. You can pick up a temporary, free Introductory Card if you do not have proof of residency.
Free Meals for Children
Salt Lake City’s libraries don’t just offer books and movies. They’re also giving back to kids in need. Kids Cafe is a Utah Food Bank nutrition program offered at select local libraries across Salt Lake County. Through this program, youth in each community can receive one free meal per day, Monday through Friday and some Saturdays. This allows kids spending long hours at the library to get free meals if food isn’t readily available for them at home. Library staff members are also available to connect families to other resources they might need.
If Kids Cafe’ is a program you or your children could benefit from, visit the Salt Lake County library website to see a list of libraries and times when food is offered.
Educational Resources and Storytimes
If you’re trying to help your little ones learn how to read, Salt Lake County Libraries have incredible courses and materials to help. Most libraries in SLC offer interactive storytimes with music, movement, finger plays, and more that young children can participate in to get excited about reading. Some are themed around specific genres or topics. If you can’t stop by a storytime, the library offers Storytime to Go kits that you can check out to have an interactive storytime at home with your child. They also offer fun, interactive reading apps for children.
Salt Lake County libraries have children’s sections you can visit with your kids to check out books, make crafts, play with toys, attend playdates with other children, and more. The City Library in downtown Salt Lake City has reading nooks your kids can curl up in to let their imaginations run wild between the pages of a book.
To see all early learning resources available at the county libraries, click here.
Classes and Clubs
Perhaps the most underrated and little known gem about the libraries in Salt Lake County is that many of them offer incredible free courses, events, and clubs that people of all ages can enjoy. Some of these courses and events include a stress management course and computer basic skills course for adults, writing workshops, book clubs, including book clubs for seniors, adults with disabilities, and Spanish/English learners, craft nights, Dungeons and Dragons nights, coding classes, Zumba classes, and many more! You can see what events are offered on the Salt Lake County Library Calendar.
Subscriptions to audiobook apps like Audible can get pricy. Through the Salt Lake County Library services, you can download audiobooks for free, including some of the newest and most popular audiobooks and old favorites.
If you need a quiet place to study or meet with a group, most of the libraries in the county offer study and conference rooms that you can use for a few hours a day. You’ll want to call ahead to reserve a room (and check for availability), but this is a great service if you need a space to meet with your team, your classmates, or just tackle those unfinished personal projects you’re working on.
Community Exploration Card Giveaway
The Salt Lake County Library has partnered with local cultural centers to offer a really cool Community Exploration Card that you can enter to win every month. The Community Exploration Card gets you up to four free general admission tickets to the Hansen Dome Theater at the Clark Planetarium, Discovery Gateway, The Leonardo, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, the Natural History Museum of Utah, Tracy Aviary, and Red Butte Garden, which can be used during the month or throughout the year (depending on the card).
You can enter to win the Community Exploration Card every month for free–keep in mind, though, that you can only win one card per year. All you need to do is visit your local Salt Lake County Library branch and submit an entry form into the Community Exploration Card box. The branch will draw two entries during the last day of the month, giving you two chances to win.