News Flash

Life at the Library

Posted on: September 4, 2018

5 things you can get with your library card (that aren't books!)

seven new library card designs

It’s a pretty natural word association to think of ‘books’ when you hear ‘library card,’ but rest assured that a Washington County Library card empowers you with access to much more than just our physical or digital collection of books.  

September is Library Card Sign-up Month, and 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of this national observance.  In the three decades since the American Library Association began celebrating the value of a library card, the way people use the library has changed. In light of these advances and innovations, here are things your library card gives you access to (that aren’t books):

Job skill training

Washington County Library cardholders can use their library card to access, which provides top-quality video tutorials covering a wide variety of subjects that help achieve personal and professional goals. offers instruction on everything from 3D animation, to business management, to marketing and photography. Software tutorials cover a number of commonly used programs, like Outlook, PowerPoint, and Excel. You can follow a Learning Path to watch tutorials specifically geared toward a professional goal, such as ‘Finding and Retaining Talent’ or ‘Become a Content Marketer.’

Discounted arts admission

With smARTpass, you use your library card to reserve free or discounted admission to a number of Twin Cities arts experiences. You can narrow down your search results by type of event, including just family-friendly events, or only free programs. (smARTpass isn’t just for families, arts events are also available for patrons 18 and older.) Some smARTpass partners include the Minnesota Children’s Museum, the Pillsbury House + Theatre, the Sandbox Theatre, and Oratorio Society of Minnesota.

Other metro libraries

Washington County Library belongs to the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA), which connects it to other library systems in the seven-county metro area. By registering your Washington County Library card at these partnering MELSA libraries, you can check materials out from that library system, just as you would if you were visiting a Washington County Library. Other MELSA library systems are: Anoka County Library, Carver County Library, Dakota County Library, Hennepin County Library, Ramsey County Library, St. Paul Public Library, and Scott County Library.


You might be familiar with eBooks and eAudiobooks, but do you know about eMagazines? Your Washington County Library card grants you access to a huge collection of eMagazines, available for download to your smartphone, tablet, or e-reader using the RBDigital app. Skip the subscription and snail mail, and save your back from lugging around heavy copies just to keep up with your favorites. Library cardholders have unlimited access to more than 200 popular titles, and can checkout and keep magazines as long as they like. There are no due dates, and multiple cardholders can check out the same issue. Our eMagazines collection has something for everyone, from hobby magazines, to lifestyle magazines, even adult coloring books.

Video games

Washington County Library launched a new addition last fall to our physical collection – video games. You can browse more than 100 games for the PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Wii U game consoles at Hardwood Creek, Oakdale, Park Grove, and R.H. Stafford libraries. Games reserved online can be picked up on the hold shelf of any Washington County Library location. The library is currently considering additional game console formats to add to the collection, and is in the process of expanding availability so video games are on the shelves at each Washington County Library location.

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