All posts by Dina H Gebretensae

Why The Boston Public Library is Underrated

It’s true, sometimes we tend to over-romanticize college and forget about our academic obligations. But suddenly, it is midterm season, and it is time to “lock in” on your five-page essay or naively try to cram-study your professor’s biology slides the day before an exam. Which now puts us here, regretting choosing our “mental health” over attending our 8 a.m. class.  

The Healey Library respects your endeavors and struggles as a student. We want the best for your scholarly intentions and goals at UMass Boston. Often, a loud dormitory or your pestering parents’ house is not the best setting to conquer your coursework. Sometimes, we crave the quiet and gratifying environment of a library to motivate our productivity. That, along with an iced coffee, a pair of noise-canceling headphones, chill-music, aaand we’re back to romanticizing.  

However, the Boston Public Library has more than an attractive environment. It is filled with bountiful resources, benefits, events, and opportunities to help you be more confident in a classroom. Here are a few things I appreciate about the BPL.

NOTE! Its important to note that the eCard is available to only those who live, reside part-time to attend school, own property, or work in Massachusetts.

For physical cards, you would need to apply at the circulation desk in any BPL location. You also need to come with picture ID and proof of Massachusetts residency. For more information visit

1) Long-term Free Loan of Chromebook Laptops

The library provides free Wi-Fi access for all and runs a short-term and long-term laptop loaning service! Going to college without a personal computer can be impossible. However, thanks to the Emergency Connectivity Fund, the library allows for the personal and academic use of a Chromebook and home Internet via home Wi-Fi routers.  

Additionally, the BPL also provides free computer and technology classes to make the setup process a bit easier! 

Click the link to see eligibility FAQs and other useful information:

2) Free English Fluency ESOL Courses

If English is not your first language, take advantage of the free English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs for adult learners! The program offers online, and in-person facilitated classes. 

There are multiple course levels and styles including Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, small group tutoring, and volunteer-led Conversation Groups. 

For more information about upcoming events and registration go to 

3) Get Test Prep and Homework Help Digitally 

Need help studying? Through the LearningExpress Library, you can have FREE access to thousands of test preparation materials and practice exams! These resources include college courses and career certification tests. 

Go to for more information! 

4) Adaptive Computer Station Software and Accessories for Disability Awareness 

The BPL cares about inclusivity and is aware of the obstacles that may come across individuals with certain disabilities. That’s why several of their program rooms are equipped with adaptive computer accessories and software! The list of tools includes; Windows Ease of Access capabilities, Duxbury Braille, Translator Braille Printer Juliet, and Kurzweil 3000. 

Go to for more information about the adaptive computer station. 

5) App To E-Download Any Book on a Digital Device 

Got a job? Busy running errands? Or simply, no available commute? No problem! Recently, the BPL launched their new To-Go mobile app that allows access to their collection without stepping foot into the library. Like the “To Go Program,” which allows patrons to place holds, pick up, and return items such as books, CDs, and DVDs, the app makes ordering items for pick-up even easier! 

The app is currently available to download on the App Store, and Google Play. Go check it out! Go to, for more specifications on the app’s features. 

We’re not quite done yet! You also have the ability to download available e-books and audio-books for leisure reading using Libby! This is another app the BPL offers and allows its patrons a quick and easier way to virtually read from the library! Convenience is the key to a students heart after all! Check it out now on the App Store and Google Play.

For more information on Libby, visit

6) Personal Book Shopper 

This is more of a fun benefit of having a BPL card. But, it deserves to be on this list! If you are in the mood to read but not sure what books to choose from, the library will do it for you! All you need to do is fill out a short form regarding your reading preferences and habits. Librarians will have 3-5 books ready just for you. The more you tell, the better the recommendations, so don’t be shy! 

Check out, to get started! 

7) Free Museum Passes

Whether the resources you are looking for are available elsewhere, or, maybe you just want to immerse yourself in art or science, either way, the BPL hears you. So, that’s why they provide FREE or discounted access to a variety of museums! With an active physical library card, you can reserve 1 pass per museum per thirty-day period (Note you can not reserve a pass with an eCard, you need a physical card). The list of participating museums includes the Boston Children’s Museum, Harvard Museums of Science & Cultures, Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Science, New England Aquarium, and the USS Constitution Museum.

Sound like fun? For further information and eligibility requirements go to

8) Housing, Health, & Hunger Help

Aside from supporting individuals with scholarly advancements, the BPL also cares about the financial and physical well-being of its patrons. Homelessness is often a misunderstood phenomenon that does get the recognition and compassion it deserves. That’s why the BPL provides online guides containing information useful for families and individuals who are housing and food insecure. Not only does the guide act as an educational resource but the entire Housing, Health & Hunger Help page provides outside resources and opportunities to access such as “Area Shelters”, “Housing Assistance”, “Food and Free Meal Kits”, “Healthcare”, and more!

If this interests you, check out for more information.

Hopefully, you made it to the end of this list and appreciate the Boston Public Library a bit more! The Healey Library is letting all of you know that any resident, student, or worker in Massachusetts is eligible for a BPL library card and BPL eCard. So don’t hesitate and fill out the forms now, see you at the library!