Library Card Sign-up Month
Have you ever heard someone say things like: “Who goes to the library anymore?” or, “Aren’t all the books online, anyway?”
What those people don’t realize is that:
- Public libraries in the U.S. are visited over 1.3 billion times a year.
- Americans check out over 2.1 billion items from their public library every year.
Source: Every Library, 2019.
Needless to say, there are a lot of people still going to the library and using the many resources they offer. The library is one of the only public places where you can spend time without having to buy something.
September is Library Card Sign-up Month, so it’s the perfect time to unlock new worlds at your nearest public library.
Of course, everyone who is part of the Fordham community has access to the university libraries by default. But we always encourage people to engage with their local libraries as well. For those of you who live, work, or attend school in New York state, we have great news – you are eligible to sign up for a New York Public Library card!
In pre-COVID times, we would have staff from NYPL come to the Walsh and Quinn libraries to sign you up for library cards. Since we can’t do that this year, this post covers how and why to get your NYPL card. But don’t forget: the Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Public Library systems are also wonderful resources for New Yorkers.
How to Get an NYPL Card
There are two ways to get an NYPL card: in-person at a branch library or online.
If you apply online, you will receive a digital library card only. It can be used for digital resources like ebooks and audiobooks, but not for print materials. If you’re more of a digital reader, or just can’t make it to a branch library, this would be a great option for you. It will also come in handy if libraries need to close again during COVID-19.
To get a full library card, visit your nearest branch library. There are 92 locations to choose from across the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Be sure to check the website ahead of time to find out the latest information regarding hours and services – access is subject to change due to COVID-19.
Use the location finder to see what library is nearest to you. If you’re at Rose Hill, the closest library is the Bronx Library Center. If you’re at Lincoln Center, the closest is one of NYPL’s research centers, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Benefits of Having an NYPL Card
You might be wondering: why get a New York Public Library card when you already have access to the Fordham University Libraries? Here are a few reasons why it’s better to have both, whether you are a student or a faculty member.
#1: Check out items from any NYPL branch.
Of course, the top reason to get an NYPL card is to gain borrowing privileges. NYPL is the largest public library system in the U.S., and their collection consists of over 55 million items including print books, e-books, audio books, DVDs, and more.
If you can’t find a book that you need in any of Fordham’s libraries, check the NYPL catalog. Sometimes you need a book right away, and can’t wait for an Interlibrary Loan request to be filled. But if you have an NYPL card, you may be able to find it there, and you can even have any circulating book sent to your nearest branch for pickup.
NYPL is also an excellent option for checking out popular literature that may not be within Fordham’s collection scope, or books for your kids or younger siblings. Really, it’s a benefit for your whole family.
#2: Access online research databases
Expand your research! Though the Fordham Libraries offer many databases, there is always more to explore. NYPL subscribes to hundreds of databases, giving you access to a wealth of current and historical scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, primary sources, reference sources, and so much more. No matter your area of study, chances are there are some databases you will find useful.
Check out the extensive list of databases available through NYPL.
#3: Get free admission to dozens of NYC museums
Here at Fordham, we know that New York City is your campus. We also know the value of free stuff for college students. With a Culture Pass, you can get free admission to the city’s best attractions. It includes a number of museums as well as other cultural institutions, like the Wave Hill gardens in the Bronx and the New-York Historical Society in Manhattan. See a full list of participating institutions, but be aware that there are restrictions in place due to COVID-19.
How do you get a Culture Pass? It’s easy. Just go to the Culture Pass website and login with your NYPL card number. Then, you can browse passes by date or venue, and make a reservation. You’ll need to print or download the pass in order to gain admission. Note that you can only use a Culture Pass at a given institution once per year.
#4: Apply for the Manhattan Research Library Initiative (MaRLI)
Please note: COVID-19 restrictions may impact the availability of this service.
As NYPL cardholders, Fordham faculty members and PhD students can apply to be part of the MaRLI program. MaRLI allows you to borrow from the collections of the Columbia University and New York University libraries, if items you need for research are unavailable at NYPL. In case-specific scenarios, it can also enable you to borrow certain research materials that are usually available for on-site use only. This opens even more doors in your research journey.
Read full details about eligibility and how to apply. If you’d like to learn more or get help applying for MaRLI, speak to one of our own Reference Librarians, who can offer you more insight and guidance into the process.
#5: Get even smarter with free online courses
You may have heard of LinkedIn Learning or Mango Languages. Normally you would have to pay to access these platforms, but NYPL subscribes to the services so cardholders can use them at no cost.
LinkedIn Learning (formerly known as Lynda) offers thousands of courses in business, technology, and the arts that allow you to learn at your own pace. Maybe you want to learn to use Adobe Illustrator, master Excel, or even how to manage your time. Supplement what you’re learning in your classes at Fordham, or just explore a new topic you’ve always been curious about. Browse the list of courses that are available.
Mango Languages makes learning a new language (or strengthening your existing knowledge) fun and interactive. There are over 70 languages to learn, but there are also ESL resources if you’re looking to advance your English skills. This can be a great resource for extra practice outside of your language classes, or allow you to learn a language even if you can’t fit it in your class schedule. See everything that Mango Languages has to offer.
As a Fordham student, faculty, or staff member, don’t miss out on one of NYC’s best (and one of the rare FREE) attractions while you’re here.