Top Free Things to Do at the Boulder Public Library


If you are looking for an answer, head to the library.

In Boulder, the library can even answer the question, “What to do on a budget?”

The Boulder Public Library is not your average collection of books. It is also a popular hub for tons of events in town, and best of all, almost everything here is free.

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We talked to library spokesperson Jennifer Bray to learn more about all the library offers, and we were surprised; we bet you will be, too.   

Here are the top 10 free things to do at the Boulder Public Library.

Boulder Public Library
The Boulder Public Library with the Flatirons in the background. Courtesy photo

1. Create, build and innovate in a makerspace.

A unique feature in the Boulder Public Library is its state-of-the-art makerspace called Bldg 61. This room is stocked with all kinds of equipment, such as 3-D printers, laser cutters, pottery wheels, a firing kiln, sewing machines, spinning wheels, looms, screen printing, a table saw, band saw, CNC machine, drill press, chop saw, welder, glass fusing kiln, vinyl cutter, computer design software and more. This space is open to the public, staffed by the library foundation and even some materials are paid for by a grant.

To get access, all you have to do is sign up for a free orientation course (to help you learn how to safely use the equipment). After your orientation training, you can attend guided practice sessions to work on specific pieces of equipment, and when you are proficient, pop in during the drop-in hours and get help from staff, when needed. If you’re certified to use the equipment, you get open access. The action takes place in the north wing of the library.

“It’s so creative, the staff is so friendly and it’s really an awesome place. I’m just thrilled to pieces with it,” Bray says.

2. Enjoy free concerts.

The library regularly holds free concerts in its Canyon Theater, including a popular 11 a.m. lunchtime show. The music spans everything from classical jazz to Brazilian to folk. Sometimes, the other library branches offer live music, too. The concerts tend to fill up quickly, so plan on arriving 20 minutes before start time to assure you get in.

“It’s a free hour of beautiful, amazing music,” Bray says. “People are welcome to bring in their lunch.”

3. Watch free films.

The library often screens free movies (such as “Caddyshack” earlier this year). Once a month, it shows an older film, like a silent film. Check the website for the film schedule.

Boulder Public Library
The Boulder Public Library offers free, family-friendly activities. Courtesy photo

4. Attend all kinds of free, family-friendly events.

Check the library’s online calendar for the full schedule of free storytimes, Lego parties, themed celebrations, guided walks along Boulder Creek and more.

Boulder Public Library
The Boulder Public Library is located right on the creek. Courtesy photo

5. Plan a free or cheap date night.

The library is located right on the Boulder Creek. Pack a lunch to eat on the creek banks, or order farm-fresh food at the library’s Seeds Cafe, which is stocked by the Boulder Farmers Market. After your scenic dinner, browse the free art galleries (sometimes exhibits are coordinated with the show) and settle down for a free film.

6. Entertain people with special needs.

The library offers regular sensory-friendly storytimes and concerts specially designed and welcoming to children with sensory issues or disabilities.

7. Get crafty.

The library also holds creative workshops for adults, such as a series earlier this spring called the (Un)Bound Book Arts Workshops, where participants learned about text and texture in book art.

Boulder Public Library
The art gallery at the Boulder Public Library. Courtesy photo

8. Browse the art.

The library is also home to an art gallery that has rotating exhibits. The current exhibit, “Environs,” ties in with the summer reading program. Many of the art exhibits are participatory and interactive.

The Boulder Public Library. Courtesy photo

9. Get caught up on work.

Anyone can use the computers at the library, even if you don’t have a library card and aren’t a resident. (You do need to sign up and provide identification.) This is ideal for travelers who may need to check their email or squeeze in a little work but don’t want to haul their laptop on the plane.

10. Rent audio books.

If you’re planning a road trip or looking for some entertainment for a long bike ride, you can rent an audio book at the library. Reserve it remotely and then pop in to pick it up. It’s super easy.



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