SD For Free An Old Favorite – The Public Library

A weekly column dedicated to sharing the best sights and activities in San Diego at the best price – free!  We have a great city and you don’t need to break the bank to experience it.


Best For: Readers, thinkers, learners, children

The dome of the new public library currently under construction.

I love to read and my earliest memories of books are from reading at bedtime with my parents and trips to the library for reading hour.  Many years later, and many states away, I am on the other side of these memories and trying to foster a love of reading in my daughter.  We often visit the library to find new books, meet other children, and read together.

The library is a great place to find and check out books, but there are also many other (free) resources at the library you may not be aware of.  In San Diego we have 36 library locations that offer a variety of services.  Below are samples of great services they provide.  Please check the branch websites to see if desired services are available at your local branch and for more information.

Computer and Internet Access

Looking for a job and want to search online? Need to check your email and are away from the house?  Need to research something?  Your library has computers available for your use.

Many branches have computers in the children’s area with programs to help children learn as well.

Branches also have free wireless internet access so you can utilize your own smartphone or laptop for internet access while at the library.

Museum Passes

The library has a number of passes to both the New Children’s Museum (10 day check-out period) and the Reuben H. Fleet  Science Center  in Balboa Park (14 day check-out period).  These passes can be reserved on the library website at:

Children’s Reading Time

Many branches have a children’s reading session each week where a librarian or volunteer reads to the children.  Many times there are also special guest musicians or craft activities for the children to enjoy as well.

 Of course, the library has many books (more than 3.8 million) and numerous magazines, newspapers, and other documents for you to read.  There are also more than 270,000 books in languages other than English for San Diegans that use or are learning other languages to enjoy.

If you haven’t been to your local branch lately take time for a visit and check it out.  Next year the new Central Library downtown will be opened and reaffirm San Diego’s commitment to learning, knowledge, and the importance of reading.  A new library building is a great symbol of that commitment but the real results come from citizens taking advantage of the resources housed within such a building.


John P. Anderson

John was an accountant in a former life and now devotes his time to child-rearing, reading, writing, and working to ensure that San Diego is truly America's Finest City. Interested in environmental issues, John enjoys connecting with others that want to improve the health of our world and community. You can find John at or on Twitter (@j_p_a_). Comments, suggestions, wisdom, and complaints are enthusiastically welcomed.