Malibu’s public library, part of the Los Angeles County Public Library system, was designed in 1963, and opened its doors in 1970—exactly 50 years ago. And anyone who hasn’t been to the library in a while is going to be shocked by all of the things that are now available for free with a free library card. No wonder its hashtag is #BestCardInLA.

LA’s public library system has more than six million books, audiobooks, periodicals, DVDs and CDs to check out.

Melissa Stallings, Malibu library manager, said many of the library’s newest offerings now let the cardholder use their own phone or other digital device to do things outside traditional library walls, like place holds on materials, read eBooks and stream movies. She said students can even get help with homework by going online for one-on-one tutoring with Brainfuse. 

The library card gives free online access to The New York Times. Access only lasts 24 hours, but readers can log back on immediately. This perk alone could save at least $100 a year in online subscription charges. 

The library card can be used for free or discounted admission to a number of LA museums like The Broad, the Autry Museum of the American West, Kidspace Children’s Museum and more. Most institutions put a limit on the number of free passes per month or per year. In most cases, reservations are required and passes must be printed out to show upon arrival. Find a full list of participating places at the library’s Discover & Go site.

Ever wanted to learn a new language? The library offers language learning apps, including the popular Mango. By entering the library card number and PIN, members can log in and start learning Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Arabic, Korean, Russian, Tagalog, Greek or Latin at no charge. In addition, non-English speakers can learn English. 

And it’s not just language learning—all kinds of other instructional content is available. In addition, library card holders can study to earn a high school diploma, look for a job, find business resources and government documents, and study for citizenship.

The library has all kinds of e-media, including a wide range of current and downloadable e-books, e-audiobooks, e-videos and mp3 music.

Those searching for maps, posters, bookplates and other photo and digital collections have access to over 120,000 photographs through “Tessa.” 

Want to see a movie? Independent, documentary, classic and international films can be streamed for free through Kanopy. The library offers access to 26,000 movies, including recent titles like Lady Bird, Eighth Grade, Moonlight and The Florida Project.

“Books By Mail” is a free service of the LA County Library for homebound residents in convalescent homes and rural areas in the LA County Library service area. Eligible residents may request up to four books at a time, a library card is not required and shipping is free.

Stallings said the library has many special events planned, including the Malibu Library Speaker Series which resumes at City Hall on Jan. 28 (featuring former White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer), a poetry open mic event, story time for children, and an upcoming Pepperdine University classical guitar concert. Please go online to for a complete list.

Malibu Public Library is located at 23519 West Civic Center Way, Malibu, CA 90265. 310.456.6438. 


Library card holders enjoy free:

New York Times access

Screening of many independent, documentary, classic and international films

Language learning tools

Remote ebook and audiobook downloads 

“Books By Mail” for homebound or rural residents

Homework help & tutoring

Access to Malibu Library programs such as the speaker series, hands-on activities and more


Editor's note: A previous version of this story misstated some of the services provided by the LA County Library, including access to the Oracle Lab in downtown LA and access to the Washington Post; those services are under the Los Angeles Library.

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