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7 Things You Didn't Know Your Library Card Could Do

Updated: Apr 6

We all know the phrase, “Having fun isn’t hard when you have a library card,” but it’s never been truer! This year, try utilizing your Redwood City library card more (it’s free!) by enjoying these services that it unlocks.


Please note that there are certain resources that are restricted to residents of particular library jurisdictions, and others that are widely available to anyone with a card from any PLS library. The number on your library card affects which programs you may have access to, so we recommend always double checking. You can call your local library to make sure your card qualifies.





1. Rent a bicycle

Did you know that you can reserve a bicycle through your local library? The Book-a-Bike service began at the Belmont Library in 2020.


These bicycles come in various sizes. Zip through downtown San Carlos for some gelato, or cruise along the coast when you borrow a Book-a-Bike from the Half Moon Bay library.


Accessories can include helmets with GoPro mounts, cargo baskets, bike lights with charging cables, bike bells, bike locks, and mini first aid kits.


Note that renters must be 18 years old. This service is offered through the San Mateo County Libraries system, so we recommend checking with a librarian at the location you're interested in checking out a bike from to see if your Redwood City library card is valid for this service. Learn more about this program in the FAQ.


2. Visit a local museum for free

The Discover & Go pass provides access to museum passes that can be printed online. Library card holders can make reservations online by date or venue and print out a pass - no returns needed!


A Redwood City Public Library card will gain you access to museums including:

  • The Beat Museum, San Francisco

  • CuriOdyssey, San Mateo

  • Legion of Honor, San Francisco

  • de Young, San Francisco

  • San Mateo County History Museum, Redwood City


3. Read the news

Ditch those pesky paywalls! Access local newspapers, like the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle, for free! You can also obtain a 24-hour pass which grants uninterrupted use of all New York Times content.


4. Start a garden

Visit the Seed Library cabinet in the Home & Garden section of the Downtown Library’s Main Reading Room. The Seed Library is sponsored by The Friends of the Redwood City Public Library, with additional seed donations from OSH Redwood City, Wegman’s Nursery, UCCE Master Gardeners of San Mateo and San Francisco, Incredible Edible Mid-Peninsula, Redwood City Seed Company, and local gardeners.


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash


5. Borrow audiobooks to stream on the go

By downloading the Libby app onto your phone, you can get on a waitlist or immediately borrow books, audiobooks, and magazines. Consume content on your phone without even going to a library! Audiobooks are great for listening to in the car, on walks, or (gulp) on the way to book club meetings. Learn more about what our libraries are offering on Libby.


6. Practice mindfulness

San Mateo County Libraries cardholders can check out a Calm account, which grants full access to all of Calm’s premium content for six months. Calm is a mindfulness app and service. The most popular feature on Calm is a 10-minute meditation called “The Daily Calm,” which explores a fresh mindful theme and inspiring concept each day.


Learn more about gaining access to a Calm to see if your Redwood City library card will work for this service.


7. Create just about anything you want in a Makerspace

Now you can record a podcast, sew, create scrapbooks, and more in the Redwood City Library’s brand new Makerspace.


Among its offerings:

  • 3D printers

  • Laser cutter

  • Sewing machines

  • Digital design and modeling software


Learn more about the newly opened Makerspace here.



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