Where to Get Free Newspapers for Packing, Reading, Research, etc

If you are looking to find free newspapers for packing, you can often find old newspapers at recycling centers, libraries, and local newspaper offices. Some stores may offer free community newspapers or weekly ads and may be willing to collect daily papers that don’t sell for you. If you’re looking for newspapers to read, you also have many options, including local libraries and online newspaper archives. No matter what type of newspaper you’re looking for or why you need it, we have the list below of where to find them for free.

In This Article

Free, Current Newspapers

Free, Current Newspaper Issues

If you want to get your hands on the print version of today’s newspaper for free, start by searching for locations that get dozens of newspaper issues delivered every day. Often, unsold newsprint is thrown out at the end of the day, and you may find locations willing to give you unsold copies for free. Here are a few places to start your search:

Local Libraries

  • Whether you are looking for local or national newspapers, your local library should be your first stop to find free, daily newspapers to read onsite.

Grocery and Convenience Stores

  • Ask your nearby grocery store, gas station, or convenience store to hold unsold newspapers for you. Many unsold papers are recycled at the end of the day, so a store may be happy to set them aside for you.

Hotels

  • Hotels typically offer customers free copies of daily newspapers in the lobby and/or delivered to their rooms. Ask the front desk what the hotel does with extra newspaper issues or lobby copies at the end of the day; the hotel may be happy to set them aside for you.

Local Coffee Shops

  • Free, current newspapers may be available at your local coffee shop. Sometimes, customers leave a copy of the paper as a courtesy to others. Coffee shops also often sell newspapers, and they may be willing to set aside unsold copies for you at the end of the day.

Local Schools

  • Many local schools receive newspaper subscriptions for student use. Newspaper copies are often recycled at the end of the day. Ask a teacher or school administrator if the papers can be set aside for you.

Note: Are you looking for a copy of the Sunday paper on Monday? See our article for the places to check.

Free, Current Digital Newspaper Articles

Online newspapers often put their content behind a “paywall,” requiring users to subscribe in order to read the articles online. However, few newspapers have strict paywalls, meaning they will allow readers to view several articles online for free each month before they need to subscribe. If you are looking for a few specific newspaper articles, you should be able to read them from the nation’s largest newspapers for free. Listed below are some large, national newspapers, but your local newspaper may have a similar policy.

Chicago Tribune

Los Angeles Times

The New York Times

The Wall Street Journal

  • Number of free article views per month: Readers can access Wall Street Journal articles for free through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. If you know the article title or topic, use the site’s search function to find someone who has shared the article.
  • Visit The Wall Street Journal’s website (or head to the WSJ Twitter or WSJ Facebook pages to find links to free articles)

Washington Post

Free, Old Newspapers

Free, Old Digital Newspaper Collections

For history buffs or those doing historical research, you will be glad to know that many historical societies have taken on the task of digitizing millions of old newspapers. Most notably, the Library of Congress has a substantial number of historical newspapers digitized and archived. Best yet, this collection is entirely free to the public. Here are some sources of old, digital newspaper collections:

Library of Congress: Chronicling America

Local Libraries

  • Many public libraries have online access to services such as ProQuest or NewspaperARCHIVE, which have extensive collections of historical newspapers.

California Digital Newspaper Collection

  • Papers available: A collection of California newspapers from 1846 to the present; the collection consists of more than 254,000 newspaper issues.
  • Search options: You can search by date, topic, county, or category.
  • Visit the California Digital Newspaper Collection 

Google News’ Newspaper Archive

  • Papers available: A collection of more than 1,000 newspapers from across the country published between 1779 to 2012.
  • Search options: The collection is organized by newspaper name and can be searched by date of publication.
  • Visit Google News’ newspaper archive page
Note: Google is no longer updating this project, but what has been archived will remain online.

Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections

  • Papers available: A collection of Illinois newspapers published from 1831 to 2011; the collection consists of nearly 140,000 newspaper issues.
  • Search options: You can search by date, publication, or topic. All digitized papers can Bookshops in PDF form.
  • Visit the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections’ website

Minnesota Historical Society: Minnesota Digital Newspaper Hub

The State Historical Society of Missouri: Missouri Digital Newspaper Project

NYS Historic Newspapers

  • Papers available: A collection of New York state newspapers from 1725 to 2016; the collection consists of more than 7 million digitized pages.
  • Search options: You can search by date, keyword, publication, city, or county.
  • Visit the NYS Historic Newspapers website

Digital NC: North Carolina Newspapers

  • Papers available:A collection of North Carolina newspapers from 1801 to 2017; the collection consists of more than 115,000 newspaper issues.
  • Search options: You can search by date, publication, keywords, or type of newspaper.
  • Visit the Digital NC North Carolina Newspapers page

University of Oregon: Historic Oregon Newspapers

Library of Virginia: Virginia Chronicle

Free, Old Newspapers in Bulk

If you are looking for free, old newspapers in bulk for tasks such as packing/padding, pet bedding, gardening, etc., you have a few other options (additionally, if you’re looking for free cardboard boxes, see our article on the list of places where you can get free cardboard):

Local Libraries

  • Because many libraries subscribe to several national and local daily newspapers, they likely build up a large collection of old newspapers for recycling. Contact your local library to see what it does with the out-of-date newspapers and if it may be willing to give you some.
  • Find your local public library.

Local Newspaper Offices

  • Newspaper offices typically recycle misprints and extra copies. Contact your local newspaper office and ask if you can pick up old or unwanted newspapers.

Local Recycling Centers

  • Recycling centers typically have bins of old newspapers that have been dropped off. Ask if you can go through their collection to get what you need.
  • Find a nearby recycling center

Stores

  • Book shops, coffee shops, convenience stores, gas stations, and grocery stores often sell newspapers and may offer free papers like the store’s weekly ad, local weekly newspapers, real estate listing booklets, and classified ad booklets. Some may also be willing to hold their old newspapers for you if you call the store and ask.
  • Availability will vary by location, but some stores that commonly offer free newspapers near the entrances, or may hold old newspapers for you include:
  • The above list is only a small selection of the stores that sell newspapers and provide other free print materials. If you need a large number of newspapers, be sure to also check nearby gas stations and smaller, local grocery or convenience stores/chains.
  • In some cases, unsold newspapers must be sent back to the distributor, so not all stores can offer old newspapers for free. For any of the stores listed above, you’ll want to call your nearest store to double check its policy and ask whether it can save newspapers for you.

In Summary

Newspapers are thrown away or recycled every day. Finding free newspaper issues isn’t tricky but may require a few phone calls to track down, particularly if you need a large number of newspapers for packing. Whether you’re seeking today’s newspaper, researching historical events, or looking for bulk newsprint, we have provided you with plenty of options.

Suggested next article: Where to Get Free Magazines

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