Of all the items I carry in my wallet, my Chicago public library card is the second most valuable -- next to my driver's license. Not only is the little green and white card the key to a world of possibilities; it is totally priceless. Let me tell you why.
1.Library cards are FREE. There are no fees, charges or taxes for owning the card. Just complete an application and provide proof of identity, a current address and Chicago residency.
2.Obtain a FREE education via books, periodicals, movies, museum passes, and other special perks offered by individual libraries. There is one main library, 76 neighborhood branches, and three regional facilities in the Chicago library system. Books can also be borrowed from suburban libraries according to the reciprocity policy. Therefore, this free education is very easy to obtain.
3.Accounts can be accessed online 24/7 with a valid library card for FREE. Records will show how many books that are checked out; when they are due; and any other information that is relevant to individual accounts.
4.Conduct research from home for FREE. Periodicals and other reference materials used for research can be found on the library's website 24/7. There are only a couple resources that can only be found on the library databases; otherwise, all other research can be conducted remotely.
5.FREE Internet and WiFi are available at all libraries. Library cards are required for internet access; WiFi can be accessed through individual computers.
6.Gain FREE entry into most of Chicago museums with museum passes. Passes can be checked out for up to seven days. Although they do not allow entry into the extra attractions at museums, patrons can walk in for no charge.
7.After searching for books online, patrons can request to have books sent to the ANY library of their choice for FREE. Books can be delivered to a branch close to home or not.
8.Other benefits include FREE author discussions, exhibits and programs for individuals of all ages.
Although the library system offers lots of free stuff, patrons do have to pay late fees and any charges accrued for items checked out if a library card is lost or stolen. Fines range from $.20 a day for books and music up to $2 a day for movies and museum passes. Fortunately, there are maximum fines per item. Patrons won't go broke unless they have a lot of items borrowed.
Essentially, getting a FREE library card; access to a FREE education via books, movies, and museum passes; and FREE computer access, WiFI and online research are totally priceless.