How to use your LA Public Library card to access news websites

Your LA Public Library card includes tons of free stuff. Of course, books and e-books. But also free digital subscriptions and access to newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, The Economist, New York Magazine and many more.

A few caveats: You need a library card in good standing. Cards are available to residents of the City of Los Angeles. You no longer need to visit a brick-and-mortar branch to get one—you can apply for an LA Public Library Card online. Most subscriptions to newspaper websites are through digital “passes” that expire after a set number of hours or days.

How to get free access to the New York Times with your LA Public Library card

The LA Public Library offers 72-hour digital subscriptions to the New York Times. These subscriptions include the main site, as well as Cooking, Games (hello Wordle fans), and Wirecutter. You must create a free New York Times account to sign in. There are a limited number of passes available per day, so if there’s a big story happening or it’s a day like Election Day, you’ll want to log in early to get one. Also, if you regularly get your news through social media apps on your phone like Facebook or Reddit, they may open links in a different browser than the one you’re signed in to, so you’ll hit a paywall and to log in. there again

When you’re ready to get your pass:

  1. Go to the specific LA Public Library login site for the New York Times and enter your LAPL card number and PIN number. (If you’re a regular reader, bookmark this link so you can return to it quickly.)
  2. Once you’re signed in to your library account, you’ll be redirected to a page where you can sign in to your New York Times account. This page will ask you to create an account if you don’t already have one.
  3. Click “start”. If you’re already signed in to your New York Times account through your browser, you may skip right to this page.

How to get free access to the Washington Post with your LA Public Library card

The library has had free access to The Washington Post on physical branch computers for years, but starting in April 2022, you can get a seven-day online pass for free from anywhere with your LAPL card. Similar to the New York Times, you’ll need to create a free online account with the Washington Post to sign in.

  1. Visit this link to get a free seven-day pass to the Washington Post with your library card and enter your card number and PIN.
  2. Enter your email address.
  3. If you already have a Washington Post account, you will be emailed a link to sign in; otherwise, you will be prompted to set up your account.

How to log in to the Wall Street Journal with your LAPL card

Starting in November 2022, the LA Public Library is offering free three-day subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal. Like other newspapers, you will need to have or create an online account to redeem a pass.

  1. Go to this LA Public Library link to access free Wall Street Journal subscriptions and enter your LAPL card number and PIN.
  2. You will be taken to a login page where you can login with an existing account or create a new one.

How to get free subscriptions to The Economist, The New Yorker and other magazines with your library card

Your LA library card includes a host of free digital magazine subscriptions, including news magazines like The Economist, The New Yorker, Newsweek, and New York Magazine; style magazines such as Vogue and Vanity Fair; special interest magazines such as Real Simple, Popular Science, and Bon Appetit; tabloids like Us Weekly, Hello, Star and In Touch Weekly, and some amazing ultra-niche titles including Minecraft World, McCall’s Quilting, New Zealand Listener and one simply and descriptively titled Sheds. Magazines are available subject by issue; you cannot use a digital library pass to bypass the paywall on these websites.

The magazine is accessed through the Overdrive website if you’re on a desktop or laptop computer, or through the Libby app on a smartphone or tablet.

Sign in from a computer or laptop:

  1. Visit lapl.overdrive.com.
  2. You will be asked to register for a library card or sign in to your library account.
  3. Enter your card number and PIN and click “Login”.
  4. Select “Magazines” from the options bar at the top of the page.

Sign in from a smartphone or tablet:

  1. Download the Libby app from the App Store or Google Play Store.
  2. Log in with your LAPL card number and PIN.
  3. Click the magnifying glass to go to the search section.
  4. Enter the name of the magazine you want to read in the bar at the top or click “magazines” under “browse with filters” to browse all available titles.
  5. After you borrow an issue, you’ll be asked if you want to be notified every time there’s a new issue. You can choose whether to set these alerts or not.
  6. Go to the shelf icon at the bottom of the app (it looks like a stack of three books) to see the issues you’ve borrowed.

Learn about what other fun gifts come with your library card.

About The Times Utility Journalism Team

This article is from the Times’ feature journalism team. Our mission is to be essential to the lives of Southern Californians by publishing information that solves problems, answers questions and aids decision making. We serve audiences in and around Los Angeles, including current Times subscribers and various communities that have historically not had their needs met by our coverage.

How can we be of service to you and your community? Email utility(at)latimes.com or one of our reporters: Matt Ballinger, Jon Healey, Ada Tseng, Jessica Roy and Karen Garcia.

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