Finance Friday: Free Library Resources, Free e-Books and Magazines

The days of library’s only offering free books is now a vast understatement. Libraries offer a range of free or low-cost resources that residents should be able to benefit from in their local communities. Below I share free library resources that I enjoy, some are nationwide but others refer to libraries in Howard County Maryland. If you see a program being offered below and you are outside of the mentioned area  contact your local library or visit their website you can find out if the resources are also offered in your region.

Free Library Resources for Online eBooks and Audio Books:

Many libraries nationwide are now allowing their members to barrow ebooks from electronic devices at no charge.

Personally, I use the free online ebook/audio book services most often to save me time and money. I love to read, but I am also constantly working so while multitasking I listen to free audio books that enhance my knowledge as well as expose me to new authors and subjects I may not otherwise have time to explore.

The apps for online books resources are free to download. However, the books generally expire between 9-14 days after checked out. However, just like in a regular library you can barrow a book again, if needed.

Free Library ebook Apps – Overdrive Library App

Most of the e-book apps do require the person to have a valid library card to barrow the books.


Very easy to use. One of my favorite free resources. In addition to this app being wonderful because it is free, I like it because it also allows readers to adjust the speed of the audio voice during audio book readings. You can also easily look up unknown words on your device by simply tapping on the word for the meaning to appear.  I use this app on my iPad and my iPhone and it works perfectly.

Free Magazines app

Zinio Library Free Magazine AppZinio is The World’s Largest Newsstand

Do you enjoy magazines, but don’t want to spend the extra cost or have the extra clutter? We try reading the magazines your library subscribes to on your table or e-reader for FREE.

(Available for Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows 8, Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD) – You have to create 2 accounts, one for Zinio and one under your library’s system. I usually add the magazines on my desktop and then titles become available for me to download them to my mobile device.

Some of my favorite magazines are:

  • Bloomberg Businessweek
  • Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
  • Iphone Life
  • Family Circle
  • O, The Oprah Magazine
  • Vegetarian Times

UPDATE *Chrome and Firefox Extensions*

Did you know that there is a Chrome and Firefox extension for your computer that will show you which Amazon books are available at your local library for free?

This awesome resource saves you both time and money. For homeschooling moms like me, this is terrific news!

Watch this video on how to install the extension

Regional Library Resource for MD

All of the activities below are great for families looking to supplement their child’s educational experience.

Free Library Resources (Howard County, Maryland)

(If you are not in Howard County, you will need to research online or call your local library branch to see if these services are available)

Libraries often offer special programs for children, teens, and adults.

Click here for tons of summer reading guides, educational online games, and ebooks for kids.

The Howard County library system offers: (visit the links for the date, description, and time. Some classes need advance registration)

  • Classes for kids – Play partners, Storybook friends, All together now, Science Starters, Freaky Fridays, and Free films
  • Classes for teens and preteens – Origami 101, Duct Tape Flip-Flops, Try This at Home, Too! (ages 6+), Enchanted Garden Youth Corps, Reading John Green, Sci-Fi Book Jeopardy, Knit ‘n Chat Teen Knitting Group, Teen Fiction Writing Workshop, Soda Science, The Secrets Behind Superman and Batman (ages 8+), Chess Club.
    • Another class included is the Library Ad Shop “Use technology and your imagination to create book trailers to pitch your favorite books and authors to others. Registration is required. Ages 13-17. ” 
  • Classes for adults – Ask A Master Gardener, SaturdayScrapbooking, English Conversation Class, How to Borrow e-Books from HCLS (iPad), The Job Hunter’s Guide to the Internet, Guided Meditation, Films To Talk About

Learn a New Skill by Attending Free Online Classes:

Howard County Library offers Free 6 week courses for its customers who are interested in continuing education courses.

Here are just a few of the classes offered:

  • Grant Writing
  • How to publish an ebook
  • Grammar refresher
  • Introduction to Microsoft Word 2007
  • Introduction to Natural Health and Healing
  • Certificate in Stress Management
  • Secrets of Better Photography
  • Homeschool With Success

Reader Response: What are some other library benefits you would recommend?

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