Free, free, free — all with your Edmonds Library card

Talk with Lesly Kaplan, manager of the Edmonds Library, and you’ll never look at your library card quite the same way again.

Yes, that card can be used to check out the latest novel or a family video, but it also opens the door to a variety of services — many of them online, and all free of charge.

Let’s start with the databases that can be accessed from Sno-Isle Libraries — which Edmonds is a member of —  just by entering your library card number.

“Say you are out shopping for a new laptop or a car, and you’d like to see what Consumer Reports has to say about it,” Kaplan said. “You don’t have to pay for it because the library has a subscription.”

Or perhaps you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, and want to read about the latest treatment options. Your library card number allows you to do your own research — from the comfort of your home — using MEDLINE or several other medical- or health-related databases.

Students from elementary age through college can use the library system’s free tutoring database, HelpNow, which provides live homework help, skills building, practice tests and a writing lab for all ages. The database also assists with GED, U.S. Citizenship and resume writing. One-on-one tutoring is available from 1-10 p.m. daily, although questions can be submitted 24/7.

Small business owners can find a wealth of resources online as well, Kaplan said, including BusinessDecision, a reporting and mapping service that combines consumer household, market segmentation and demographic data with GIS mapping technology.

Chances are, if you want to know more about nearly any subject — professional or personal — the Sno-Isle Library has a database for that. There is genealogy information if you are researching your family tree, or the Automobile Repair Reference Center for vehicles from 1945 to the present. Not to mention access to national subscription-based publications like the Wall Street Journal. You can even learn a language online, Kaplan said.

And visiting the library has its advantages, too. For starters, library card holders are allowed to print out up to 70 pages of computer information per week, free of charge. “You don’t have to use up your ink and toner,” she said. This is especially helpful for job hunters who may be printing out resumes and cover letters. And those looking for work can take advantage of another library service — free use of a laptop for a day, as long as it’s kept in the library.

“These are remarkable assets available to anyone who has a library card,” Kaplan said.

You can sign up for your library card online and it will be mailed to your home address, or you can stop by the nearest Sno-Isle library, complete an application and receive your card the same day.

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