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Syracuse University Libraries

Public Libraries

Benefits of Joining a Public Library

This guide will introduce you to some of the wonderful resources and services that are available at public libraries, including those available to members of the SU community. While Syracuse University Libraries offer access to millions (if not billions) of information resources, we're not able to offer access to every resource. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you consider joining a public library so that you can access amazing additional resources, such as:

  • Leisure reading, including mysteries, graphic novels, current bestsellers, and more
  • Ebooks and audiobooks that you can instantly download to your phone, tablet, or computer 
  • Streaming and downloadable videos
  • Magazines that you can access online, including the New Yorker, National Geographic, Women's Health, Rolling Stone, Us Weekly, and hundreds of others
  • Databases that are unavailable at Syracuse University Libraries 
  • Online tools to learn new skills or a new language

Not only are the above resources available through public libraries, but public libraries often also offer additional resources and services such as: 

  • Notary services
  • Ability to put books and other resources on hold
  • Online and in-person events and activities, such as book clubs
  • Makerspace tools and support
  • Local history and genealogy resources

Best of all, public libraries are supported by state and local taxes, so you can access these resources at no additional cost!

Special note: This research guide grew out of a project that iSchool student Brooke Vitagliano developed in the course IST 613 Library Planning, Marketing, and Assessment in Fall 2021.

Which Public Library (or Libraries) Could You Join?

For those living in or near the Syracuse area, this guide recommends two public libraries in particular: The Onondaga County Public Libraries (OCPL) and the New York Public Library (NYPL). Anyone living in Onondaga County should be able to join these libraries.

While both libraries offer instantly downloadable ebooks and audiobooks, the OCPL offers easier access to print and physical objects, such as the newest bestselling books. Many people chose to join both of these libraries, as you'll have a larger number ebooks, audiobooks, and other resources to choose from.

If you live outside of Onondaga County or New York State, please look up online which public library system you might be able to join. While many public libraries offer similar resources and services, you'll need to visit your own public library's website to see which resources they are able to offer. 

Leisure Resources at SU Libraries