+
upworthy
Joy

People are shocked at what they can get for free through the public library besides books

Udemy and Coursera courses, musical instruments, zoo passes and more—all for free.

library filled with books, screenshot of tweet explaining you can get udemy and coursera courses free with a library card

Did you know you might be able to get Udemy and Coursera courses for free with your library card?

It's well-established here at Upworthy that libraries are the greatest human invention ever. An open and welcoming public space where you can borrow books about any subject you want for free as long as you bring them back? Simply brilliant.

But even as awesome as that is, it's not even the half of what makes public libraries great because there is so much more you can get than just books. Lots of people probably know you can check out DVDs from most libraries as well, and many probably know that you can check out digital books and audiobooks as well. (If you haven't checked out the Libby app to check out free audiobooks with your library card, run don't walk.)

But let's go over some of the lesser-known library card perks, which miraculously keep on growing. These offerings will vary by location and may not be available at your local library, but it's worth checking your library's website because you might be surprised.


Zoo and Museum Passes

Many cities—including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle and many more—offer free admission tickets to area museums, parks, gardens, zoos, etc. For most library systems, you get a certain number of tickets per month for free, but these can save you a ton of money. We're talking main attractions in some of these cities, not just obscure museums no one has ever heard of (not that those aren't worthwhile).

Classes through Udemy, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning and more

Online learning platforms like Udemy, Coursera and LinkedIn Learning offer tons of classes about everything under the sun, but many of them you have to pay for. Many libraries offer access to these classes for free. To see if your library does, log into your library's website and look for the digital resources area. (I live in a tiny town that doesn't offer Udemy or Coursera, but it does have LinkedIn Learning and a bunch of other offerings.)

Mango Languages

When I went searching for Udemy on my library's website, it was delighted to find that Mango Languages is available for free with my library card. On the paid site, a single language is $7.99 a month and unlimited languages is $17.99 per month. With multiple languages, you can save over $215 per year simply by going through the public library website. Amazing.

Actual Framed Works of Art

Tired of bare walls but not sure what to put on them? Some libraries in Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia and many other places offer artwork you can check out for a period of time and then switch out. A perfect way to keep your home looking fresh and updated and save on buying art to hang on your walls. Win Win.

Musical Instruments

Yes, really. Some libraries have begun offering musical instruments for their patrons to borrow, from drums to banjos to keyboards and more. If you've ever had the hankering to try out an instrument but didn't want to shell out the money.

Power Tools

Surely now we're joking, right? Nope. If you're in Los Angeles County and need a tool, head to the local library where they have a list of dozens of tools. Drills, sanders, power washers, drill bit sets, you name it. They also offer sewing machines and other sewing equipment. But it's not just L.A. County. And it's not just tools. Some libraries are offering things like baking pans, popcorn makers, telescopes, sports equipment and other useful things we may not have on hand but don't want to have to buy.

The American Library Association estimates that around 2/3 of Americans have a library card. If you don't, highly recommend you get one from your local library. It's free! You can also check the terms and conditions of libraries that aren't local to you to see if they allow non-residents to get a card. There is often a fee associated with a non-resident library card, but sometimes that might be worth it if you're traveling to a city and want to take advantage of their museum passes.

The bottom line is that libraries can be great for your bottom line with free offerings that go so far beyond just books. Yay, libraries. They really are the best invention.

Family

Dad takes 7-week paternity leave after his second child is born and is stunned by the results

"These past seven weeks really opened up my eyes on how the household has actually ran, and 110% of that is because of my wife."

@ustheremingtons/TikTok

There's a lot to be gleaned from this.

Participating in paternity leave offers fathers so much more than an opportunity to bond with their new kids. It also allows them to help around the house and take on domestic responsibilities that many new mothers have to face alone…while also tending to a newborn.

All in all, it enables couples to handle the daunting new chapter as a team, making it less stressful on both parties. Or at least equally stressful on both parties. Democracy!

TikTok creator and dad Caleb Remington, from the popular account @ustheremingtons, confesses that for baby number one, he wasn’t able to take a “single day of paternity leave.”

This time around, for baby number two, Remington had the privilege of taking seven weeks off (to be clear—his employer offered four weeks, and he used an additional three weeks of PTO).

The time off changed Remington’s entire outlook on parenting, and his insights are something all parents could probably use.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

13 comics use 'science' to hilariously illustrate the frustrations of parenting.

"Newton's First Law of Parenting: A child at rest will remain at rest ... until you need your iPad back."

All images by Jessica Ziegler

Kids grab everywhere.


Norine Dworkin-McDaniel's son came home from school one day talking about Newton's first law of motion.

He had just learned it at school, her son explained as they sat around the dinner table one night. It was the idea that "an object at rest will remain at rest until acted on by an external force."

"It struck me that it sounded an awful lot like him and his video games," she joked.

Keep ReadingShow less

Christine Kesteloo has one big problem living on a cruise ship.

A lot of folks would love to trade lives with Christine Kesteloo. Her husband is the Chief Engineer on a cruise ship, so she gets to live on the boat pretty much for free as the “wife on board.” For Christine, life is a lot like living on a permanent vacation.

“I live on a cruise ship for half the year with my husband, and it's often as glamorous as it sounds,” she told Insider. “After all, I don't cook, clean, make my bed, do laundry or pay for food.“

Living an all-inclusive lifestyle seems like paradise, but it has some drawbacks. Having access to all-you-can-eat food all day long can really have an effect on one’s waistline. Kesteloo admits that living on a cruise ship takes a lot of self-discipline because the temptation is always right under her nose.

Keep ReadingShow less

When the attack on Pearl Harbor began, Doris "Dorie" Miller was working laundry duty on the USS West Virginia.

He'd enlisted in the Navy at age 19 to explore life outside of Waco, Texas, and to make some extra money for his family. But the Navy was segregated at the time, so Miller, an African-American, and other sailors of color like him weren't allowed to serve in combat positions. Instead, they worked as cooks, stewards, cabin boys, and mess attendants. They received no weapons training and were prohibited from firing guns.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

Keep ReadingShow less

A woman giving a stern warning.

Over the past few years, women named Karen have taken a lot of heat in the media. The term "Karen" has been used to describe a specific type of entitled, privileged and often middle-aged white woman. Typically, "Karen” is depicted as demanding, self-important and constantly seeking to escalate minor inconveniences to authority figures, like demanding to "speak to the manager."

Identifying the folks who create unnecessary drama in our world is important. But calling them a “Karen” isn’t the best way to solve the problem. There are many reasons to have an issue with the “Karen” stereotype. First, it’s terrible for people named Karen, and it’s also a connotation that many feel is racist, sexist and ageist.

Further, according to a new study by Trustpilot, the stereotype isn’t accurate. A recent survey by the online media site found that the people who leave the most one-star reviews aren’t female, and the women who do it the most aren’t named Karen.

Keep ReadingShow less