Libraries are usually thought of as places where books are housed and computers are available for public use. They’re seen as a hushed and quiet place where people browse through shelves of books, sit at tables studying for their next exam or surf the internet. Of course, Chesapeake Public Library (CPL) has plenty of great books to read, as any reader of the CPL blog can see, and many, many computers for internet and word processing.

I bet I can name six services CPL offers that you don’t usually think of when you hear the word library! There are many other services beyond these, but these are sort of a “Big Six” that’ll have you rethinking what your local library can do for you. Best of all? They’re all free!

1. Free Notary Services


This one probably surprises people the most. That’s right, CPL offers free notary services! Our notaries are fully certified by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Here are a few quick facts about our notary services:

Please note that, by law, notaries are not authorized to certify true copies of birth, death or marriage certificates and cannot certify true copies of court issued documents, nor can they perform marriage ceremonies.

Also, if your document requires witnesses to a signature besides the notary, the library cannot provide those witnesses.

Just be sure, when you bring in documents that need to be notarized, that you have a valid state or government-issued photo ID.

The best part is that each CPL branch has more than one notary on duty, so there is almost always a notary available during regular library business hours.

2. Free Faxing

During regular business hours, you can come into the library and fax outgoing documents for free. Local? Long distance? We’ve got you covered. It’s fast, simple and free. Please note that CPL fax machines cannot accept incoming faxes; they are available for outgoing faxes only.

3. Exam Proctoring


If you are a college student studying at a college or a university and you cannot take your exam at your school’s location, CPL offers free proctoring services, as well. Each college or university has a slightly different procedure for distance exam-proctoring, so be sure to check with your school first. The process usually begins by having the school supply you with a Proctor Agreement Form to be signed by a librarian at any Chesapeake Public Library. Please call the library you wish to have your exam proctored at first to be sure of the availability of proctors and any other steps that need to be taken before setting up a date and time to take your exam.

4. Laptops for use in the Library


Computer labs full? Need some peace and quiet and want to use a study room? You might be eligible to check out a laptop for use in the library!

If you are a student taking an online exam (not proctored by library staff)…

If you are doing an assessment online that requires more than one hour to complete…

If you are seeking employment and filling out a job application…

Or if you are doing just about anything else school or job related…

You can check out a laptop!

Each CPL library has laptop computers that you can check out for use within the building. Laptops can be checked out for a period of four hours, so that you don’t have to worry about your session time expiring while you are in the midst of taking your exam or filling out your employment application. Also, the laptops are equipped with more software capability than our regular internet computers, thus enabling you to temporarily download more software if necessary to complete your project. These laptops are available during regular library business hours

Please note that we require a valid state or government-issued photo ID to check out laptops.

5. Job Help

Real testimonies from CPL customers who got jobs after using our Job Help services.

CPL, through its partnership with the Virginia Employment Commission, offers job seekers assistance with resumes, cover letters and job applications. All CPL branches offer some form of Job Help, whether it is a one-on-one appointment or an open session on Monday or Tuesday mornings.

CPL staff can give you tons of pointers: how to make your resume stand out, how to make your cover letter command attention,  how to fill out those pesky online job applications, which social media sites can be useful in your search and what sites to use when seeking employment. It’s best to call the library before coming in for Job Help since staffing schedules are subject to change.

6. Tax Help


During tax season (February 2 – April 15), many CPL branches provide meeting room space for volunteer tax counselors to provide free tax preparation service for individuals of any age with low to moderate income and no rental income. Please call ahead at the branch to be sure of the hours, and please note that you should arrive early to ensure your place in line. Also be sure to bring your photo ID, social security card, as well as your last year’s tax return.

Need a tax form and not sure where to get them these days? Even though we no longer get paper tax forms, we can help you quickly get to the right place online to download and print forms out. If you have a printer at home, simply visit our Tax Help page, or to get the forms.

Now I’ll bet you didn’t know that about your Chesapeake Public Library! Is there anything else you never knew about the library and were surprised to find out about when visiting? Share your experience in the comments below!

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