Advice for College Students: 6 Reasons to Get a (Free) Public Library Card

If the classroom is the first stop in the learning experience, the library is the next destination. It’s the place where students and researchers go to find books and journal articles, use electronic resources, consult with librarians, conduct research, write papers, and study. Libraries are incredible resources that can help you complete your coursework with ease and with greater success.

You may already be familiar with the library on your college campus, but don’t miss out on another invaluable resource—the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system. Library cards are free for anyone who is a student or teacher in Mecklenburg County, and there are 20 branches that offer you access not only to millions of physical items, but also to a rich wealth of online resources. You might be surprised to learn about what your public library has to offer nowadays.

Here are 6 reasons to include a public library card on your list of school supplies.

  1. Research Databases. A library’s electronic database system is perhaps a college student’s most valuable research tool. Electronic databases provide you with a near-endless supply of high-quality articles, journal publications, and scholarly texts that span a wide variety of subjects. Our online databases are available to students 24 hours a day just by logging on to a computer from your home, dorm, or anywhere you can get an Internet connection. Learn more


  1. Computers, Internet connections and study space. You might already have these, but sometimes you need backup. Don’t forget that public libraries offer free access to computers, and all locations offer free wi-fi and quiet places to study. And Charlotte Mecklenburg Library now offers mobile hotspots you can rent—great for if you’re traveling. Learn more.


  1. Expert help. Librarians are physically present for a reason. In many situations, it’s helpful to speak with an actual person about a research question or problem. Librarians can help you locate all types of library materials, offer research advice, and let you know about special events or activities. In general, they’ll help you make wise use of your time. Visit a library branch and say hello to a librarian! 


  1. Online Learning. If you need to learn something fast, or get stuck and need help, the library gives you free access to a wide range of valuable online courses and tutorials.

    • Lynda.Com. An online educational site that includes over 3,000 courses (and over 130,000 videos) in popular fields like web design, web development, IT, education/instruction, media production, and business. Normally, using requires a paid subscription, but Charlotte Mecklenburg Library cardholders can access content for free.
    • Universal Class. An online education experience offering over 540 courses in subjects like Entrepreneurship, Home and Garden Care, Computers and Technology, Health and Medicine, Homeschooling, Job Assistance, Law and many more. CEUs available. 
    • Pronunciator is a language learning service covering 80 languages offering a range of language skills, including reading, writing, listening, and speaking.  Includes downloadable resources. 
    • can provide live, online professional help when you need it. College students can get help in English or Spanish for college level courses including English, science, math, social studies, and essay review. Online tutors are also available to assist with GED preparation and career services such as resume review, job searching and interview preparation. Don’t get frustrated and don’t stay stuck. Instead, log on to through the Library’s web site to get the help you need, right when you need it. 


  1. History and genealogy resources like no other. Explore the past with the most genealogy resources of any public library in North Carolina, plus free access to’s library edition. The Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, a department in the Main Library, houses historical and current information on Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and North Carolina. You can also view the Carolina Room’s online collections —which include some really fascinating early photos and maps of Charlotte—at  


  1. Loads of free entertainment. We know you need a break from studying sometimes, and, as a student, you very likely need to keep your entertainment budget in check. With a library card, you can access our extensive Digital Library, which includes movies, e-magazines, music, e-books and audiobooks. Many of these items can be used on mobile devices and e-readers, and some can be downloaded for use offline. Here is a run-down of the Library’s five most popular digital services and what they offer

Convinced that a free library card is worthwhile? What are you waiting for? Learn how to get your free library card today. We can’t wait to see you at the library.




Apply for a Library Card

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