City Cast

7 Free Things You Can Get From Multnomah Library

Rachel Monahan
Posted on October 23
3-story brick building of Multnomah County's Central Library, Portland, Ore.

There's more to the library than books. (Simon Cobb, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

A Multnomah County library card gets you so much more than free books. Here’s what else you can get at no extra charge:

Learn Another Language 🇨🇳🇻🇳🇷🇺

Learn Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, French, Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, Swahili, or other languages on the app Mango. There’s English for non-English speakers. It works on Android and iOS.

  • Tip to start: Create your account using the website, because that’s easier!

Free Videos, Comics, and Music 🎵

Use the Hoopla app or website. Starting on the first of each month, you can check out 10 items per month. You can keep movies and TV shows for three days, music albums for a week, and comics for three weeks. Bonus: There are no late fees. A second option: the Kanopy app also offers access to TV and movies, with 10 credits a month.

Copy Center 🖨️

All library locations also offer copying, faxing, and scanning. Extra amazing: Send documents to be printed from anywhere with a mobile app, though you do have to go into the library to pick them up.

Homework Help ✏️

Get help with a rough draft, math problems, PSAT practice questions, and real-time tutoring. The website is available for free with a library card. The hours for live help are noon to midnight in English and Spanish, and 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Vietnamese.

Gresham Makerspace for Teens 🥽

There’s a 3-D printer, a laser cutter, and a sticker maker, among other inviting options, at Rockwood Library’s makerspace for teens. The library offers tweens, teens, and families access to technology, a community space to come together, and tech drop-ins and classes.

Free Entry at Cultural Institutions 🎭

Check out this previous newsletter segment on how to get into museums, gardens, and theaters for free.

Free Audio Books, Magazines, and E-Books 📖

My personal favorite library resource: getting books, audio books, and online versions of current magazines from the comfort of home. You can do just that with an app called Libby. E-books work on Kindle.

What free resources do you use at the library? Please email me how you use these resources and others.

Hey Portland

Want to know what's happening in Portland? Sign up for our free newsletter, Hey Portland. Packed with local news, curated event recs, local life hacks, and more, it's your daily toolkit for getting the most out of the city you love.

Portland Life Hacks

See All

The latest in Portland