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10 things to check out at the library (besides books)

Getting a library card doesn’t just guarantee you access to a bunch of great books — you can also use RPL to self-publish, search your family tree, and get gardening tips.

The shelves at Belmont Library, lined with books

Access to tons of books is just the start at RPL.

Photo by RICtoday

Table of Contents

If you’re overdue on learning all the resources available at the Richmond Public Library, here are 10 things to check out.

First things first: You’ll need a library card. Richmonders and people who live in surrounding cities and counties — including Chesterfield, Henrico, and Hanover — can get a card for free.

🗓️ Events and programs

From First Friday concerts to local author appearances to adult coloring hours, the RPL calendar can be a great resource to find something fun to do. Use the filters to see what’s happening at your neighborhood branch.

Bonus: We list RPL events on our calendar.

🍿 Online entertainment

If you’ve got a library card, congratulations — you also have access to thousands of movies, documentaries, magazines, audiobooks, and albums. RPL lets you use Acorn TV, Curiosity Stream, Hoopla, and Hellosaurus, among other services.

🖊️ Notary services

Get up to three documents per day notarized at RPL branches. The office services don’t end there — you can also get all your faxing, copying, printing, and scanning needs met at the library.

Pro tip: It isn’t required, but it’s usually a good idea to call ahead to verify that a notary is available.

Located in the Main Library, the Richmond Room is the answer to your business, law, and nonprofit questions. Make an appointment to take full advantage of services for small businesses, access to special collections, and assistance with legal topics.

Pro tip: The Richmond Room travels to different branches for events, including legal workshops and information sessions about tenant/landlord law.

💼 Job seeker assistance

Download a resume template, get connected with career coaches, and use online databases to find your next gig. You can even book a one-on-one session for more assistance.


You can use the Memory Lab’s resources to digitize family documents, old photos, and more.

Photo via Richmond Public Library

🎙 Innovation and Memory Labs

The Main Branch is home to two labs with tools to create and research. Get access to Adobe Creative Cloud, 3D printing and scanning, and sewing machines at the Innovation Lab. Then, embark on an oral history project with the audio-visual tools in the Memory Lab.

Pro tip: Contact a librarian before you visit so you’ll be ready to use the equipment.

📚 Self-publishing

RPL can help your words come to life in the form of a print-ready eBook. You can also submit your work to the Indie Author Project, which will share it with readers around VA.

🪴 Gardening tips

Master gardeners are always on hand via a virtual help desk on the RPL website. Whether you’re curious about native plants or understanding soil test results, the experts will help you dig into all things gardening.

The master gardeners also visit various branches for in-person help sessions.

💸 Grants and funding

The money could be out there for your next project — and RPL can help you find it. Through the Funding Information Network, you can access print and electronic resources. Schedule an information session with a librarian.

🧩 Meeting rooms

Find a home for your nonprofit or special interest group by reserving space in a meeting or study room. Meetings must be open to the public.

Book it over to the RPL website for even more library resources.

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