Leaving home for college does not mean you have to stop reading. Most college students in the U.S. have access to various library resources in order to obtain the books they enjoy. Below are some options that may be available to you.
The College Library
College libraries are typically to be used by students and faculty doing research so they will not, unfortunately, ILL books for you that you are not using for a class. In the same vein, they may have a children’s book section with YA and MG titles, but they might prefer that these remain on the shelf for individuals doing research. However, some college libraries do have separate sections or reading rooms that are purposely set aside for reading for entertainment. You can go to your college library to see what resources they offer.
The Public Library
Many college students remain unaware that they are eligible to receive a library care from the city in which their college is located. You will likely have to demonstrate that you attend the college or have an address in the city. Usually this means you have to provide photo ID and a piece of mail showing your address (if it differs from that on your ID). You can show a piece of mail from your university mail box if you live in a dorm. Some libraries also ask to see your student ID. You can call ahead or check the library website to make sure you are prepared before you show up.
If the public library is a fair distance from campus, your best option might be to go there once and obtain the card. Once you have a library card, you can check out ebooks. Ebooks return automatically once the loan expires so you never have to worry about walking back to the library when you are busy or worry about accruing fines. You don’t even need a e-reader. Kindle has apps for tablets, phones, and computers or laptops.
Library Book Sales
Both university and public libraries tend to hold book sales. Some libraries even keep a shelf or more of books for sale out all year long. They may not be entirely free, but these books will be fairly cheap and you can feel good about supporting the library while you shop.
Little Free Libraries
Check if your city has any registered Little Free Libraries. Some colleges also run book exchanges where you can take or leave a book. You might be surprised at what you find!
If you sadly find out that your college does not have a book exchange, you can always start one yourself. All you need is a location, a shelf, a sign, (and, of course, permission from the appropriate offices). You can start if off by asking for book donations. Faculty and grad students are always likely to have more books than they want or need.
Free Kindle Books
If you don’t want to go to the library, you can go to Amazon and search for free Kindle books. Legal and free can’t be beat! And, again, you don’t need an e-reader. You can download the free Kindle app for your tablet, phone, or laptop.