What to Expect: Books, Programs, Friendly Volunteers and Staff, Free WiFi, Access to Computers, Online Services, Welcoming Atmosphere, Tutoring Help
Families in Charlotte are unbelievably fortunate to have the robust Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system to support Emilie Buchwald’s astute observation that “children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”
Over the last hundred plus years, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has evolved to become a wonderfully multifaceted destination with not only a world of books available in the branches and online, but with also a vast range of programming and services to appease interests ranging from yoga and STEM to genealogy and photography.
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In 2014 alone, the Library lent almost an astounding 6 million items and offered over 21,000 programs to our growing community of 1 million.
Residents of Mecklenburg County can get a library card for free, starting from birth. Yes, from birth; children under the age of 5 will receive a special “Born Reader” card with a teddy bear design. Even non-residents of Mecklenburg County can obtain a Charlotte Mecklenburg Library card (see “Good to Know Before You Go” for more details.)
All children should have their own library card; a library card is a passport to developing a lifelong love of reading and learning. The possibilities are limitless, and if your child resists a visit to the library, make them go anyway. From audiobooks to graphic novels, the ever changing landscape of materials available is bound to snare even the most reluctant visitors and readers.
Good to Know Before You Go:
You need an acceptable proof of address to get a card. The Library accepts: driver's license or state issued ID with current address; addressed check-book, local check cashing card if it has current address; rental agreement; addressed bills or correspondence received by the applicant through the US Mail; voter registration card.
How to Get a Library Card if you are a Mecklenburg County Resident: Apply in person at any of the 20 branches with proof of residency and get a card immediately. Parents must fill out an application for patrons 11 and under and specify borrowing and computer use privileges. Patrons 12 or older can apply using an online form but you'll need to bring ID to your branch before checking out items with your new card.
Non-residents of Mecklenburg County can obtain a Charlotte Mecklenburg Library card for an annual fee of $45, per household. This amount is approximately equal to the annual property tax a Mecklenburg County resident pays to support the Library. No fee is charged to non-residents who are students (of any age) enrolled in any private or public school in Mecklenburg County.
Free WiFi is available at all Library locations.
Voracious readers may check out up to ninety-nine items at any given time, but there are limits on various types of items such as audio/visual materials.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library offers dozens and dozens of programs, including book clubs, story times, art clubs and more. As families plan summer, consider including some of these great programs on the calendar: Programs & Event Listings.
Even if the Children’s Library at ImaginOn is not your closest branch, be sure to plan a visit. This library is everything a children’s library should be and you can easily spend hours here. In fact, ImaginOn was named the nation’s No. 1 children’s library by Livability.com. Make it a trip by taking the Lynx blue line downtown and get off at the last stop, 7th Street Station. Hop over to the 7th Street Public Market for a bite and then head to ImaginOn for endless inspiration.
There are over 20 library locations throughout Mecklenburg County. Visit http://www.cmlibrary.org/locations/ for more information.
Hours (Check website for holiday closings)
Monday-Thursday 10am-8pm; Friday & Saturday 10am-5pm; Seasonal Sunday hours available at select branches only. Visit http://www.cmlibrary.org/locations/ for more information.