Do you love being surrounded by books or discussing literature? Then the library is the perfect place for you! Libraries are not only home to books, but they also usually offer different events and programs. These are great opportunities to meet new people and practice your English!

In the following tables, you'll find useful phrases that you can use while at the library. Use them to make yourself better understood and to get the help you need. Let's get started and improve your English!

At the Library: Patron

Here we'll introduce you to phrases that will be useful when talking to librarians. Use them whenever you have a question or need help.
I'd like to check these books out.
 
Can I sign up for a library card?
 
How much does a library card cost?
 
I forgot my library card.
 
Can you help me find a book I'm looking for?
 
Can you see what books I still have checked out?
 
Where do I check books in?
 
Can I renew this book, please?
 
Can I put a hold on this book, please?
 
Can I reserve a film, please?
 
Where is the non-fiction section of the library?
 
Are there any English courses held at the library?
 
 
Can I sign up for a library card?
To take out books from a library or to use other library services, you'll need a library card. This is proof of your library membership. Every library is different, but a library card is usually free or very inexpensive in most American libraries. If you enjoy reading, then it's worth signing up for a library card!
Are there any English courses held at the library?
Most libraries in the United States offer many different programs. These can be things like children's events, holiday celebrations, and even language courses. If you're looking to take a language course in person, then definitely check if there are any at your local library!

At the Library: Librarian

The following phrases are things that librarians may say to you. It's useful to learn these so that you can better understand what librarians are saying to you.
Can I help you find anything?
 
"The Sorcerer's Castle" is located on the second floor in the fantasy section.
 
Do you have a library card?
 
You can sign up for a library card at the front desk.
 
Can I have your photo ID and address, please?
 
Books are due back in two weeks.
 
I've renewed your books for another week.
 
Let me check your account to see what books you still have out.
 
It looks like you currently have an overdue fine of $5.
 
Our children's program is every Saturday.
 
 
Can I have your photo ID and address, please?
When you sign up for a library card, you'll usually have to show some form of identification. This can be something like your driver's license or passport. Every library is different, so make sure to find out what your library requires.
It looks like you currently have an overdue fine of $5
When you check a book out from a library, it's expected that you return it by its due date. If you don't do this, then you'll be charged an overdue fine. The fine gets bigger the longer you wait to return your book. You'll have to pay this fine before you can check out any other books. So make sure to return your books on time!

Answers to the Most Common Questions

What are the most essential English phrases I need to know when visiting a library?
  • Can I sign up for a library card?
  • I forgot my library card.
  • Can you help me find a book I'm looking for?
  • Do you have a library card?
  • Can I renew this book, please?
  • Where is the non-fiction section of the library?
  • Books are due back in two weeks.
  • It looks like you currently have an overdue fine of $5.
What do I need if I want to use a library?
Libraries are usually open to the public, meaning anyone can go in and read books or use library resources. If you'd like to take books, films, or other materials home with you though, you will need to join the library and get a library card. Library cards are usually free or very cheap.
What can I find in a library?
Libraries mainly have lots of books from all kinds of genres. Maybe you are a fan of fantasy novels, biographies, or romance novels? You'll be able to find lots of them at a library! But libraries offer so much more than just books. They also usually have audio books, films, magazines, newspapers, and sometimes even video games that people can borrow. Libraries also host reading groups and offer different programs for children, teenagers, and the community. So you'll also be able to meet lots of new people at the library!
Why are libraries useful to language learners?
Libraries are fantastic resources for language learners. There are so many books and other types of media like films and audio books that you could check out and use to practice. Not to mention that libraries often hold different kinds of events for the public. So they are also a great place to meet people with similar interests and to get even more language practice. Some libraries even offer free or cheap language courses that you could join. Libraries have lots to offer and it's worthwhile to check out your local one!