You probably haven’t stepped foot in the L.A. Public Library in years, but at least now there’s a reason to actually get a library card. Once you sign up, you can use it to get free digital access (!) to the New York Times. Gizmodo writer Matt Novak noticed the offer (which doesn’t actually expire, despite being labeled as the library’s “electronic resource of the month”) and wrote about it yesterday, prompting a mad dash to the Times‘ site. Some who tried to claim it were greeted with a warning message alerting them that the library’s digital subscriber limit had already been reached.
The good news: The L.A. Library today tripled the number of free digital subscriptions it’s offering, according to spokesperson Lauren Skinner, who declined to say exactly how many subscriptions are available to library users. Your best bet is to check the website first thing in the morning, since the library’s allotment refreshes daily. Scoring the free Times subscription might be almost as taxing as nabbing tickets to Oldchella, but it’s worth the wait considering basic digital access costs $180 a year — and the paywall limiting non-subscribers to just 10 articles a week runs out real fast, even when you’re switching between three different browsers to hack it (we’ve all been there).
It’s just one of about a dozen different online services the L.A. Public Library offers to members free of charge, including access to the Sony music catalog Freegal, which lets you download up to five tracks a week, and hoopla, an online catalogue of audiobooks, movies, and television shows. And, of course, if you’re really partial to reading L.A.’s own daily paper of record, you can also access copies of the L.A. Times — though not the full site — via the LA. public library’s Proquest online database.