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Solace in the (Virtual) Stacks: Making the Most of Your Library’s Digital Resources

Libraries have long been a haven for children and families to find not only their next great read, but to get magazines, audiobooks, programming, and even movies and DVDs. Though most libraries have closed their doors to keep their patrons healthy during the current COVID-19 outbreak, there are many ways to access library materials digitally, and they are easier to use than you think!

1. Libby
Libby is the be-all-end-all library phone app. Available for both iPhone and Android, Libby is the new version of the tried and true “Overdrive” app and lets you listen to audiobooks and read e-books on your phone. To get it, download the app to your phone. Have your library card ready and enter the credentials into the app. That’s it! You can use the app to browse e-books and audiobooks and even check them out right from the app. For e-books, you can read them on the app or transfer them to your kindle with a click of a button. Audiobooks will play right from your phone. Download Libby here: https://www.overdrive.com/apps/libby/.

2. Hoopla
Hoopla is another great library app that allows you to check out materials from your phone, tablet, or computer. Hoopla is unique in that you can use the app to rent and watch movies, listen to music, and read comics as well as borrow e-books. This is a great way to find some movies to watch with your family that might not be available on streaming services! https://www.hoopladigital.com/

3. E-learning
Libraries are known for hosting many in-person learning events, from computer skills to children’s crafts. You can still enjoy these types of services without setting foot in the library! Many libraries have services they subscribe to that you can access with your library card online to continue your learning experiences. Go to your local library website and look for things like Creativebug, which is a collection of instructional craft videos, Lynda.com, which has a wide range of e-courses, including software skills, and Mango, a language learning program. These are things you can do and practice with friends and family near and afar. Watch the same crafting video and compare results, or spend a week starting Spanish and call your friend to have a conversation! You also might have access to public records and ancestry.com. This could be a unique opportunity to learn more about your family or town history. The availability of these services will vary by library.

4. Livestreams and Webinars
Many libraries are creating live videos or curating content of live and pre-recorded events. These videos range from local musicians and artists to read-alouds and draw-alongs. Libraries are also continuing book clubs and groups for youth to adults via online platforms such as Zoom. Check your local library’s website and social media channels for up-to-date offerings.

5. Non-library Resources
You can look outside the library as well for some educational online resources and access to books and materials. 

Amazon’s Kindle app and Barnes & Nobel’s Nook app are both free to download and use on your devices. You can use the Kindle app to read e-books from the library and either app can be used to read free e-books available from a variety of sources. 

Project Gutenberg is a website that creates e-books out of books that are in the public domain, meaning they are already free and available to the public. These can sometimes be downloaded in Kindle or Nook formats: https://www.gutenberg.org/.

Many museums around the world are offering virtual video tours of their museums and artwork. These tours can be accessed on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms. Here is a list of museums currently offering these services: https://www.simplemost.com/museums-visit-online-virtual-tours/.


Whatever your book and learning needs may be, your local library probably has you covered!
Make sure to check their website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram to keep up-to-date with their current offerings. Some libraries are even keeping phone lines open for inquiries and community assistance. What resources will you be trying? Be sure to share this post with anyone you think would enjoy a little lightness from the library delivered right to their personal digital device.