How to use your LA Public Library card to access news websites

Your LA Public Library card has a lot of free stuff. Sure, books and e-books. But also free digital subscriptions and access to newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, The Economist, The New York Magazine and many more.

Some caveats: You need a valid library card. Tickets are available to residents of the City of Los Angeles. You no longer need to visit a physical branch to get one: you can apply for an LA Public Library card online. Most subscriptions to newspaper websites are through digital “passports” that expire after a certain number of hours or days.

Here’s how to get free access to The New York Times with your LA Public Library card

The LA Public Library is offering 72-hour digital passes for The New York Times. These passes include the main site, as well as cooking, gaming (hello, Wordle fans), and Wirecutter. You must create a free New York Times account in order to sign up. A limited number of passes are available per day. So if there’s a big story breaking or it’s a day like Election Day, get in early to get one. If you regularly get your messages on your phone through social media apps like Facebook or Reddit, they might open links in a different browser than the one you’re logged into, requiring you to hit a paywall and have to log in there again .

Once you are ready to receive your pass:

  1. To register with the New York Times, go to the LA Public Library’s specific website and enter your LAPL card number and PIN number. (If you are a regular reader, highlight this link for quick reference.)
  2. Once you have logged into your library account, you will be directed to a page where you can log into your New York Times account. This page will prompt you to create an account if you don’t already have one.
  3. Click Get Started. If you’re already logged into your New York Times account through your browser, you may be taken directly to this page.

Here’s how you can access the Washington Post for free with your LA Public Library card

The library has had free access to the Washington Post on computers in physical branches for years, but since April 2022 you can get a free seven-day online pass from anywhere with your LAPL card. Similar to the New York Times, you must create a free online account with The Washington Post in order to sign up.

  1. To receive a free seven-day Washington Post pass with your library card, visit this link and enter your card number and PIN.
  2. Enter your e-mail address.
  3. If you already have a Washington Post account, you will be emailed a link to sign up. If not, you will be prompted to set up your account.

How to log into the Wall Street Journal with your LAPL card

As of November 2022, the LA Public Library is offering free three-day passes to The Wall Street Journal. Similar to other newspapers, you must have or create an online account to redeem a pass.

  1. To access free Wall Street Journal passes, go to this link from the LA Public Library and enter your LAPL card number and PIN.
  2. You will be taken to a login page where you can either login to an existing account or create a new account.

With your library card, you can get free subscriptions to The Economist, The New Yorker, and other magazines

Your LA library card includes a wealth of free digital magazine subscriptions, including news magazines like The Economist, The New Yorker, Newsweek and New York Magazine; fashion magazines such as Vogue and Vanity Fair; specialty magazines like Real Simple, Popular Science, and Bon Appetit; Tabloids like Us Weekly, Hello, Star, and In Touch Weekly, as well as some surprisingly ultra-niche titles like Minecraft World, McCall’s Quilting, New Zealand Listener, and one simply and descriptively titled Sheds. Magazines are available in editions; You cannot use a digital library card to bypass the paywall on these sites.

The magazine can be accessed via the Overdrive website if you are on a desktop or laptop, or via the Libby app from a smartphone or tablet.

Logging in from a desktop or laptop:

  1. Visit lapl.overdrive.com.
  2. You will be prompted to apply for a library card or log in to your library account.
  3. Enter your card number and PIN and click on “Login”.
  4. Select “Magazines” from the options bar at the top of the page.

Logging in from a smartphone or tablet:

  1. Download the Libby app from the App Store or Google Play Store.
  2. Sign in with your LAPL card number and PIN.
  3. Click on the magnifying glass to navigate to the search area.
  4. In the bar at the top, enter the name of the magazine you want to read, or click Magazines under “Browse with filters” to browse all available titles.
  5. After you’ve checked out an issue, you’ll be asked if you want to be notified of each new issue. You can choose whether or not to set up these notifications for yourself.
  6. Navigate to the shelf icon at the bottom of the app (it looks like a stack of three books) to see the issues that are on loan.

Find out more about what other fun freebies you can get with your library card.

About the Times Utility Journalism Team

This article is from the Times’ Utility Journalism team. Our mission is to be essential to the lives of people in Southern California by publishing information that solves problems, answers questions, and aids in decision making. We serve audiences in and around Los Angeles – including current Times subscribers and diverse communities whose needs have not been met by our coverage in the past.

How can we be useful to you and your community? Email Utility (at) latimes.com or one of our journalists: Matt Ballinger, Jon Healey, Ada Tseng, Jessica Roy and Karen Garcia.

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