Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Public Libraries for Community College Students

This guide includes public library resources available at no cost to community college students and the general public for academic, professional, and personal development.

Difference Between College and Public Libraries

Illustration of a Library

Most libraries offer physical materials, electronic resources and some type of professional guidance for its patrons. 

The East Los Angeles College Library, and other college or academic libraries, makes resources and services available to students and faculty. They have more scholarly and academic-focused materials and resources available, along with librarians who often have subject specialties.

Public libraries make resources and services available to the general public who live within their service area. They have more popular and general interest materials and resources available, along with library staff. 

Both your college library and the public library are available for you to use, and they both offer resources that are free to you for academic, work, or personal use. 

This guide will focus on resources available through the LA County Library and Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL), but you should sign up for a library card with other library systems as they can allow you more and different access to resources, and supporting your local library is always a good thing!

Find a Public Library

LA County Library serves Los Angeles County.

Locations near ELAC:

Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) serves the City of Los Angeles.

Locations near ELAC:

Get a Library Card

To access most of the materials, resources and services offered by different libraries, you will need an account. At your college library, access is available with your student ID. At a public library, you will need a library card. Both LA County Library and LAPL offer digital library accounts and full access library cards.

Link to LA County Library Digital Library Card Application

  • Available to residents of Los Angeles County, ages 18 and over
  •  Free access to LA County Library's online resources and services
  • Access to the public computers, printing and copying 
  • Ability to place holds and check out 3 physical items at a time

Link to LAPL E-Card Application

  • Available to residents of Los Angeles County 
  • Free access to LAPL’s online resources and services

LA County Library Card

  • Available to California residents
  • Free access to LA County Library's online resources and services
  • Access to the public computers, printing and copying 
  • Ability to place holds and check out up to 50 physical items at a time

LAPL Card

  • Available to California residents
  • Free access to LAPL’s online resources and services
  • Ability to place holds and check out up to 30 physical items at a time

Search the Catalog

Search IconPublic libraries are the best resources for finding popular fiction and nonfiction books. Search each library for physical and electronic resources: