Published September 5, 2023

8 Things You May Not Know About The Barrie Public Library 

Not your typical library ...
Boy reading at public library

When you think of libraries, chances are you picture rows of books, hushed whispers, and the timeless smell of well-worn pages. But, the modern library experience is so much more than that. The Barrie Public Library is a community hub that's adapted to the changing times and the needs of its patrons to offer a wide range of products and services you may not even know they have. 

If it’s been a while since you have considered checking the Library out, here are 8 reasons you may want to reconsider.

1. You Don’t Have To Live In Barrie To Get A Free Membership 

Gone are the days when the only way to get a library card was if you lived in town. What a lot of people don't know is that Barrie Public Library Cards aren’t just available to residents of Barrie and Oro Medonte. 

You may also be eligible for a free library card if you: 

  • Work in Barrie (proof of current employment required)
  • Attend school in Barrie (proof of current enrolment) 
  • Own property in Barrie (property tax bill)
  • Are visiting or you are a temporary resident (proof of vacation/temporary address) 
  • Belong to Midland or Orillia Public Library AND live in Midland or Orillia (Library card from the applicable location)
  • Own a business in Barrie (business license)

If none of these apply to you and you still want a library membership, you can purchase one for $75. 

2. No Late Fees

It’s always nice when people return the items they borrow in a timely manner. But the reality is, not everyone is great at bringing stuff back by the due date. Whether it’s a busy schedule, procrastination, or a bad memory, being late happens. 

If due dates and late fees have deterred you from visiting the Barrie Public Library in the past, then you're in luck! 

The Library no longer has late fees, at least in the traditional sense. Instead, they charge a replacement fee to your account for any items that are 21 days overdue. When the item is returned, the replacement fee is wiped from your account. 

3. You Can Access A Huge Digital Library 

Once you have a Barrie Public Library card you’ll have access to thousands of hardcopy books, movies, games, and more. But the library also lends out digital resources. 

This includes everything from ebooks and eAudiobooks to movies, courses, research, and more. You can even use their Ancestry Library (in library only) or FamilySearch online to view genealogical data from around the world. 

4. They Have A Library Of Things 

The Barrie Public Library features a unique offering called the Library of Things. 

The Library of Things offers a wide range of items beyond books, CDs, movies, and the other items you expect to see at a library. The list of available items is long but some of the highlights include: 

  • Outdoor sports equipment 
  • Bicycle locks 
  • Tool kits 
  • Car diagnostic readers
  • Electronics like ReaderPens, Launchpads, and Therapy Lights
  • Instruments Ontario Parks vehicle permits 
  • Projectors 
  • Wye Marsh day passes 
  • Sensory support kits

You can find a full list of items on the Barrie Public Library website

If you haven't explored this part of the library yet, you're missing out on practical and exciting resources that go beyond traditional borrowings. It's a great way to test out something you were thinking of buying, discover a new hobby, and so much more! 

5. You Can Explore Your Creativity With Technology 

If you are an expert DIYer, looking to try out a new creative outlet or just looking for a new project, you should check out the Library’s Creative Spaces. 

Here you will find a 3D printer, sewing machines, button makers, guitar pick punches, sublimation printers, and more. They also have a range of Cricut machines including a Maker, EasyPress, and MugPress. 

If you aren’t ready to try out some of these machines on your own, the library also offers a wide range of tutorials on the BPL Digital Library Academy or you can sign up for a Coaching Session

And that leads us to our next point …

6. You Can Book Coaching Sessions 

Coaching Sessions provide a valuable resource to individuals seeking guidance and support in various aspects of life. 

These sessions offer a one-on-one opportunity to connect with experienced BPL staff members who specialize in different areas such as job search strategies, technology assistance, and business development. 

Whether you're aiming to refine your resume, enhance your digital skills, learn how to use a tech device, research genealogy, or something else entirely, these coaching sessions cater to diverse needs.

7. They Have Vending Machines For Books 

If you're looking to grab a new read while you’re on the go, swing by one of the Self-Serve Kiosks at the Allandale Recreation Centre and the East Bayfield Community Centre. 

To take out a book, all you have to do is scan your library card, enter your PIN, and select the book(s) you want. If you have books to return, you can leave them in the Kiosk, regardless of whether you borrowed them from one of our three locations or another BPL Kiosk. 

To ensure there’s always something interesting to read, BPL staff restock the Kiosks weekly. 

RELATED: The Barrie Public Library launching "Vending Machines" ...

8. They'll Make You A Busy Bundles Or Next5

If you and your family are short on time but you still want to enjoy the Barrie Public Library, you may want to get to know more about Busy Bundles or Next5.

Both of these are a selection of books, movies, and other resources based on your interests. All you have to do is fill out a short form and the library will pull a selection of items for you to swing by and pick up. 

Give The Barrie Public Library A Try 

Libraries are often thought of as places just for books, but the Barrie Public Library is so much more than that. They’re a great example of how embracing change and creativity can lead to endless opportunities. 

When you step into the Barrie Public Library, you're not just stepping into a place with books. You're walking into a friendly space that's open to everyone, and that can teach, help, and make life better in all sorts of interesting ways.

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