Many universities offer free access to Lynda‘s vast library of learning videos. But for those of us who aren’t affiliated with an educational institution, there’s a very easy way to gain free access. If you live in the U.S. or Canada, chances are you have completely free and unrestricted access to Lynda through your library.
While you can access Lynda videos on computers at many public libraries in the U.S. and Canada, you can also sign up for a free account and enjoy the videos from the comfort of your own home using your library card number.
Lynda can cost anywhere from $19.99 a month to $29.99 a month. If your library offers free access, you’re getting a great deal.
1. Does Your Public Library Offer Free Lynda Access?
The easiest and fastest way to find out if libraries in your county offer free Lynda access is to Google the name of the library and “Lynda”. Also, you can search for the term “Lynda” on the library’s official website. (Just make sure that when you conduct that search, that you’re searching the library’s site and not its catalog.)
On the Arlington County Library website for example, enter Lynda in the search bar on the homepage. Select site as your search parameter, and hit enter.
You’ll often find that your library has a page detailing the resources or research tools or learning tools available to members. You might have to do some digging around to find this page if this is the route you opt for.
Another super easy way to find out is to either call the library or pay a visit to your local library and ask your librarian if Lynda access is offered.
If your library doesn’t offer access to Lynda you could gain access to all the courses using LinkedIn’s premium membership instead. A premium LinkedIn account will cost $24.99 a month if you’re billed annually or $29.99 if you’re billed monthly. This way – you’re getting two services for the price of one. US veterans can access LinkedIn Premium for free.
2. Get a Library Card
Once you figure out which library in your area offers free access to Lynda, you can sign up for a library card if you don’t already have one, in a few easy steps. (If you already have a library card, just skip to the next step.)
When you go to your nearest county public library, you’ll likely need to bring two items: a photo ID and a piece of mail that confirms your residence.
Photo ID you can use include:
- Driver’s License
- State Issued Identification Card
- School Identification Card
- Voter’s Registration Card
Types of mail confirming your residence include:
- Postmarked Mail
- Bank Statement or Checkbook
- Lease Agreement or Mortgage Paperwork
- Current Class Schedule or Report Card
- Voter’s Registration Card
Either way, be sure to check the library website or call the library up to make sure you have everything you need before you make the trip. Some libraries also offer online signup for a temporary 30-day card that will expire if you don’t go into the library in person to finalize your application. Information required to sign up includes your name, address, birth date, and email address.
That said, the process for signing up for a card in person is quick and painless, and shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.
When you get your library card, you will likely be prompted by the librarian to choose a pin for your account on the spot, and will have to log in to activate your membership.
3. Sign Up for Lynda
Once you have (or if you have already have) your library card, you can go ahead and sign up for a free Lynda account online.
Go to Lynda.com and click the Sign In (not Sign Up) button, and click on the link that says: Sign in with your organization portal.
You’ll be prompted to enter your organization URL. In this case, you’re going to enter the website address of your library. Arlington County Library members will enter
library.arlingtonva.us, Washington DC library members should enter
dclibrary.org and so forth.
This will bring you to your library’s log in page where you will need to enter your library card number and your library pin to log in.
The first time you log in, you’ll be prompted to enter your profile information: First Name, Last Name, and Email.
Once you fill in that information, you’ll have access to all Lynda courses, and next time you log in, you should be automatically taken to your library’s sign-in page.
If your library has mobile access, you can also download one Lynda’s many apps and open the log-in page. Navigate to the Organization tab and scroll down to Web Portal, and where it says Enter your organization’s URL to log in through their portal, enter your library URL. Hit the blue Log In button.
4. What You Get With Your Library Account
A free library account gives you access to all of Lynda’s premium level features including, most importantly, offline viewing in its apps and access to exercise files provided by instructors so that you can follow along seamlessly.
When you open up a course in any given app, you’ll see a download button (a down arrow) next to each segment. Tapping that button will download the video to your device for offline viewing.
Using Lynda apps in offline mode is a great way to take your learning experience out and about with you. Free apps are available for iOS, Android, Windows, and OS X, users. You can also install Lynda on Roku, and Apple TV which is particularly useful to use Lynda on your TV for a big screen experience. You can also cast videos to your TV using a Google Chromecast.
When it comes to choosing your courses – it all depends on what you want to learn – nothing is off limits with your library account.
Courses on Lynda are divided into over 200 categories including design, photography, programming, animation, and much more.
Design courses delve into how to use professional programs like Illustrator and InDesign, while also focusing on the fundamentals of design. Photography courses focus on shooting tips, how to use programs like Lightroom and Photoshop, lighting, and more. You’ll also find plenty of courses on digital art, Photoshop, video production, Microsoft Access, InDesign, art theory, and so much more.
Does your local library offer access to Lynda.com? What are your favorite Lynda courses? Let us know in the comments.