While it’s common in most places to pay a yearly membership fee, in the north its one of the very few things you can still get for FREE with no strings attached! In order to get your library card you will need photo ID and to be planning to be an Iqaluit resident for 6 months or more and then you are set! They offer a variety of reading material in 3 languages: English, French, and Inuktitut.

Just how can a free library card save you up to $1000 in a year? Well take a look at how these savings can add up…..


MAGAZINES – Potential Savings: $60-$100

If you normally subscribe to 2 magazine subscriptions per year, you are most likely spending $30-$50 per subscription. Thats $60- $100 per year. By cancelling your subscription and reading the magazines from the 37 subscriptions available at the library, you’ve not only saved money buy also helped to reduce the environmental impact. (Just because we don’t have any trees in the north doesn’t mean we don’t like saving them, right?)

BOOKS – Potential Savings: $150+

If you are an avid or even occasional reader, chances are each year you spend some funds on books. If you have children, and are working to develop in them a love of reading, it could be quite a large sum that you spend each year to offer a variety of reading choices for your child. Borrowing a book from the library as opposed to purchasing it has huge savings potential.

Don’t see the book you are looking for? Ask about it, it may be available for inter-library loans across the territory and they can bring it in for you!

Not to say that you will never again buy books, but it can also help you to determine which books are WORTH buying. For example, there was a book I had been eyeing on Amazon and wanted to purchase, but I decided to check the local library first to see if they also had it available. I borrowed the book first, read it cover to cover, and then realized this would be a book WORTH having that I would refer to often, and so I could confidently order that book knowing the money was well spent. It has also SAVED me lots of money by allowing me to read through books that were a great read, but not one I would need to own.

If you were to buy 5 books a year on average (that is very conservative for some) at an average price of $30 per book, thats a total of $150/year that could potentially be saved by borrowing the book rather than owning it! Not to mention, it keeps your home from being overtaken by books and allows you to keep the space in your bookshelves for the ones that REALLY deserve to be there!

DVD RENTALS – Potential Savings: $260+

Gone are the days of libraries being just for books, they are also a great place to rent DVDs for FREE! In addition to the educational films and documentaries, there are also a wide selection of popular movies, both recent and classic, along with a variety of popular Tv show series. If you were to rent one movie a week at the regular movie store rental price of $5 per movie , that would be $260 a year. So visiting the library and enjoying their dvd collection could save you over $260 a year (not to mention late fees that the library is a lot more forgiving on rather than the movie rental store)

INTERNET – Potential Savings: $520+

With the cost of internet in the north, there are many who must go without it, and even for those who do have the “luxury” of having access to internet, it’s not uncommon to be maxing out the usage cap and then it leaves users scrambling to conserve it until the new billing cycle begins. All it takes is a visit to the library, though, and you can have internet access to check your email, Facebook, and almost anything else that you might be needing to research or get updated with. Since there are no internet cafes in Iqaluit, the library is the place to be to keep up to date online. While some internet cafes might charge $5-$10 for each use (which would add up to $260-$520 if used once per week for a year) you can do all this at the local library, making it once again the frugal option.


While there may not be a specific dollar value to put on these programs, the value they carry is still great. For any mom, dad, or caregiver who is inside all day with young ones while it’s cold and blustery outside… they know the value of having a place to go, an engaging activity to participate in, and a fun and healthy way to socialize. The story times and reading programs available are a wonderful way to engage young minds, cultivate a love for learning & reading, learn about culture, and have an opportunity to meet new friends. Its an opportunity to explore topics you might not have discovered on your own, and a wonderful way to get connected with the community. They offer a Pre-school and a Mom and Tots program on Tuesdays and a family oriented story time and crafts on Saturdays.

The Summer Reading Club program held each summer also has fantastic incentives for young readers and some great prizes to be won! In years past they have given away prizes such as ipods and bikes to the winners!


In addition to programs for children and families, there are a few niche groups available for members to join. For example, ask about their Book Club, or try out the Chess Club on Thursday nights where you can learn the basics, play experienced players, and meet others with similar interests.

Workshops are also held throughout the year to offer a variety of information and assistance with things such as resume building, computer basics, and more.

If you are a history buff, you might be interested in viewing an exclusive collection available only at the Iqaluit Centennial Library. You can make an appointment to view the Manning collection. These antique books (handled only while wearing white gloves to help preserve them) were donated by Thomas Manning and hold a host of details about the history of the North and share details of scientific expeditions that were recorded. The pages are an interesting bridge from the past to the present.

Did you know so much was available for FREE !?!?
Take a look at the total on how these potential savings can really add up…

+BOOKS – $150
+INTERNET – $520
+Free Programs
Toal potential savings $ 1,030

The amount that the library can save you, of course, depends on the services that you avail yourself of, but there is no doubt that it’s worth taking the time to acquaint yourself with the friendly staff and the variety of services offered in this one great location. Check it out to see how much it can save you!

If you haven’t been in yet to see the Iqaluit Centennial library for yourself… Take a virtual tour of the library via Google from the comfort of your home!  Click Here to check out Google’s virtual tour!

The Iqaluit Centennial Library is located at the Unikkaarvik Building – 220 Sinaa Street.
Hours: Mon. & Wed. & Fri. 1-6 pm, Tues. & Thurs. 3-8 pm, Sat. 1-4 pm, Sun. closed

This post is part of our “Spotlight on Savings” series featuring local businesses and services.

We are putting a spotlight on local businesses which offer great savings to customers. Do you know a local business that offers great deals or discounts? Contact us so we can shine the savings spotlight on them!

You can also follow us on INSTAGRAM @Abovethetreeline.ca for Iqaluit deals spotted around town #IqaluitDeals

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