Did You Know You Can Borrow Video Games From the Library? Here’s How

Libraries are a great alternative to video game rentals that come at no cost whatsoever.

Did You Know You Can Borrow Video Games From the Library? Here's How

Key Takeaways

  • Public libraries now offer video game rentals for free, filling gap left by rental services like Redbox and Blockbuster.
  • To borrow games, sign up for a free library card and check the "Special Collections" section or use website search functions.
  • Borrowing games from the library is cost-effective, offers extended playtime, encourages trying new games, and may influence libraries to expand their selection.

Remember when Redbox or Blockbuster would let you rent some of the newest titles for just a few bucks a day? A new trend has emerged to fill the void left behind by the loss of rental services. Many public libraries have started to collect video games, and it doesn't cost a cent to borrow them.

Video Games at the Library?

In some ways, libraries putting brand-new console video games on their shelves is a natural step forward, since they have always been about more than just books. Many traditionally offered PC software, computer games, and movies on VHS, DVD, and Blu over the years. The addition of modern video game titles is perhaps unsurprising.

Remember that video games and related content can be more expensive than books, films, and other media, so not all institutions are guaranteed to have them. To determine if your local library stocks video games, it may be a good idea to visit them and ask a librarian or visit their website to see what kind of content they offer.

How to Borrow Games From Your Local Library

Of course, the first thing you'll need to take advantage of a library's catalog is a library card. It is typically free to sign up by simply going in and asking a librarian or applying online at your local library's website. If you are an adult, all you need is a valid ID or driver's license to sign up for a library card for free. Anyone under 18 must have a parent or guardian sign for it, however.

Next there's the matter of finding out whether your local library carries video games, since it is not always a guarantee. To determine whether your local library offers a selection of games, you can often find them in a section called "Special Collections." Here, you will usually find catalogs of items that are more niche or expensive, such as educational resources and of course, video games.

Did You Know You Can Borrow Video Games From the Library? Here's How

You can also utilize the website's search feature and look up titles specifically that you may be interested in. However, this can sometimes lead to inconsistent results since the library will show you content with similar titles that may not be relevant. To remedy this, simply use the advanced search refinement features to narrow down your query by the format you are looking for; in this case, video games.

Did You Know You Can Borrow Video Games From the Library? Here's How

The search function on a library's website can look different depending on the location, but most will offer some kind of search refinement tags that let you narrow things down by format and other criteria. Simply type in the name of a game you are looking for and filter the results to only show video games and you can see if the library carries it along with the platforms for which it is available.

Why You Should Get Games From the Library

Gaming is an expensive hobby, and as such, it can be a toss-up to decide which new releases to fork over that $70 for. Luckily, many libraries offer an extra way to play games at no cost whatsoever, provided you don't mind that you have to return it at some point.

On top of the fact that it is completely free to use, borrowing games from the library can also give you much more time to play them than a typical rental would have. Back when they were more common, video game rentals often made you pay a daily fee to continue having access to a game.

Meanwhile, libraries allow you to borrow items for sometimes weeks at a time with no consequence, giving you much more time to play through and enjoy them.

Did You Know You Can Borrow Video Games From the Library? Here's How

The lack of a paywall or rental fees can also encourage you to try out games you might otherwise be hesitant to pay for. Without the threat of buyer's remorse looming over you, it can be much more exciting to try out new games you may otherwise have been hesitant to pay for.

If you're an avid fan of gaming and you're looking for a cheap way to play new releases or try something different, ask your local library if they stock video games. Even if they don't offer them, enough calls or emails from local patrons may encourage them to consider adding games to their catalog of content available to the public.

While you wait to hear back from your local library, you can check out these other ways to try out games before you buy them and see how you can watch free movies on your PlayStation.

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