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Nine things you might not know you can do at the county library

Almost everybody knows the County Library is the place to go to get books, information and entertainment; all for free.

But you may not know about all the things you can do at the County Library and with your library card – like learning a new language, exploring your family heritage, getting free seeds to plant in your garden, and even graduating high school.

Yup. You can do all of that and more.

Here are nine things you might not know you can do at a County library:

Graduate high school

If you’re one of those who didn’t get to finish high school, you can earn your diploma through the County Library. Library High School offers adults 19 years old and older the opportunity to earn an accredited high school diploma and a career certificate – for free – through an 18-credit curriculum. Career certificates are documents from a professional organization that show you have the necessary knowledge and skills you need to do a specific job.

Adults who are interested in the program can join at any time. Go to All you need to start is take an online readiness survey and complete any needed prerequisites. Then, attend, complete and graduate!

Get ready to become a citizen

Getting ready to apply to be a citizen of the United States of America? You can take citizenship classes and prepare to take the U.S. citizenship test for free. The County Library works regularly with the nonprofit Jewish Family Service of San Diego to give 10-week-long free citizenship classes. Summer day and evening classes are scheduled to start June 18 and run to August 22 at four library branches. Registration is required. Please call or text 858-637-3282 or 619-753-1630, or email [email protected] to enroll.

Here’s the summer schedule:

El Cajon: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesdays: El Cajon Library, 201 E. Douglas Ave., El Cajon.

Imperial Beach: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays: Imperial Beach Library, 810 Imperial Beach Blvd., Imperial Beach.

San Marcos: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Thursdays: San Marcos Library, 2 Civic Center Dr., San Marcos.

Spring Valley: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesdays: Spring Valley Library, 836 Kempton St., Spring Valley.

Discover & go

Your County Library card isn’t just your passport to books, music, movies and more. It’s also your ticket into local museums, sporting events and recreational activities – with free passes and discounts – through the Discover & Go program.

To browse what’s available and reserve passes, use your Library card number and password (last five digits of your registered phone) to log in to Make a reservation, print your pass(es) and enjoy your visit.

Read on the go – in multiple languages

Speaking of books, your library card is also the way to read or listen when you’re on the go, with the help of the free Libby app and the County’s eLibrary. The County Library has access to more than 200,000 electronic books, magazines, newspapers and audiobooks.

And the Libby app also allows readers to read their material in any one of 15 languages. The app should automatically change text to the language on the reader’s iPhone, iPad or other Apple devices.

Learn about your family history for free with “My Heritage”

You can discover, share and preserve your family history for free by using your County Library card to access My Heritage Library edition, either through the computers at your branch library or online.

My Heritage has access to more than 5 billion historical records from 48 countries and 42 languages, from photos to public records, family trees and military records. Tapping into these can help you learn more about who your ancestors were and what kind of lives they led.

Records run from birth, death and marriage records, to mentions in newspapers and even school yearbooks. And the County Library’s genealogy page can also link people to sites where you can learn about the lives of people who were enslaved, letting you help restore previously anonymous identities. Enslaved: Peoples of the Historical Slave Trade and FamilySearch’s African American Genealogy webpages are dedicated to African American ancestry and records.

Learn a new language for free through Rosetta Stone

You can use one of the most popular language-learning apps, Rosetta Stone, free of charge, to learn a new language with your County Library card. It’s easy. First, download the Rosetta Stone mobile app – but don’t launch it. Now, set yourself up to use the app through the County Library.

Open your phone or computer’s browser, go to the County Library’s e-library page, then select Rosetta Stone from there. Enter your library card number and sign in. Select “Learn a Language – Rosetta Stone Library Solution,” enter your email address in the username field, choose a password and then a language to learn.

That gets you set up. Now, select “sign in,” and then “Launch Rosetta Stone Foundations.” The learning program will launch and you’re off to the races!

For mobile users, please remember, you’ll need to use the County Library link each time you use Rosetta Stone to use it for free through your library card.

Grow your garden with the “Seed Library”

Yes. The County Library is not just for a fertile mind. It can even help your garden grow. Eleven county branch libraries offer starter seeds through the county’s Seeds and Sustainability program to promote gardening and access to home-grown food! People can take home seeds for native California plants and bee-and-pollinators helping flowers, and also to grow food – from melons, to squash, tomatoes, carrots and peppers.

The 11 branch libraries that carry seeds include the Alpine Library, El Cajon Library, Fallbrook Library, Julian Library, La Mesa Library, Lemon Grove Library, Lincoln Acres Library, Rancho Santa Fe Library, San Marcos Library, Valley Center Library and the Vista Library. Oh yeah, and unlike the books you check out? You don’t have to return seeds.

Experience different cultures; broaden your horizons

The county’s 33 branch libraries feature hundreds of events and programs, including cultural events and arts programs. You can learn how to play American or Chinese Mah Jongg, a game of skill and chance. Take a Spanish class, experience a Friendship Club, learn how to play a ukulele, listen to the sounds of traditional Japanese music, learn Ballet Folklórico Dance, take Black-ink painting classes or enjoy an arts display. And that’s just the tip.

County Library events run the gamut – from after-school programs to author visits, discussions about books or business, law and money, or computers and technology. Just go to the County Library’s events pages.

Give back and keep connected

The library also offers lots of opportunities to volunteer – for adults and teens. If you’re interested, you can check with your local branch. Interested adults will undergo background checks, then meet with library staff to match their interests with available opportunities.

So, there you have it. Nine things you may not have known you can do at the County Library or with your library card. For more information about the County Library, go to


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