Maximizing Your Libby Borrowing Options

This week is more of a life improvement tip than a professional pick-me-up. As (most of us, I assume) are residents of the wonderful Allegheny County, we are entitled to a lot of electronic library resources—particularly the titles available in Libby. Despite the best efforts of the DRC, some titles are simply too popular, and waitlists can sometimes extend into weeks and months. Sure, you could just find another book to listen to/read, but wouldn’t it be nice to have even more options for borrowing?

Enter the Free Library of Philadelphia.

But wait—we do not live in Philadelphia, how is this relevant? To answer, I would like to emphasize this paragraph from the Free Library’s website:

“A Free Library card is available at no cost to anyone who lives, works, pays taxes, or goes to school in the City of Philadelphia. In addition, anyone who lives in the state of Pennsylvania can obtain a Free Library card without charge.”

This would be a great time to mention a user can load several library cards onto their Libby account. My most recent and favorite success is South to America by Imani Perry. Recommended by a coworker, I was disappointed to see the waitlist extending into the double-digit number of weeks. But, with my handy-dandy Free Library of Philadelphia card, all was not lost:

The process for getting the card was simple and painless, and you can get started HERE. Because I am not a Philadelphia resident, the approval took a little longer (a few days) than for a typical Philly-dweller. Having two large libraries’ worth of electronic resources is proving a vast quality of life improvement.

I am curious if you have any hacks you have learned over your years in the greater PA library system! Please email me at if you have any issues getting a Philadelphia card or want to swap tricks.

Happy reading.

Cameron R.S. Smith – Cooper-Siegel Community Library