Online library services to entertain you while you’re cooped up at home avoiding the coronavirus
We’re all stuck at home being responsible and socially distancing ourselves in an effort to flatten the curve, but all this new me-time can get boring quickly. So! Why not see what you can get from your library in the meantime?
Now, many libraries have closed down their physical locations in an effort to cut down on large gatherings and slow the spread of the virus, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get books or other fun things from them. Look up the website for your local library and see which services they have available virtually. They may include any of these:
Overdrive/Libby: ebooks and audiobooks, plus some limited magazines. Libby is the mobile-friendly app version, and Overdrive can be viewed on a desktop site. Items may have a waiting list if they’re in high demand.
Hoopla: ebooks, comics, audiobooks, movies, TV shows, and music. No waiting lists! Instantly get access to the content you want. Libraries pay a special fee for instant access though, so you’ll likely have a monthly limit dependant on your library’s budget.
Flipster: Magazines. You’ll be able to go back a few years’ worth of issues if you really want. Selection may be slightly more limited than the library’s physical collection.
Kanopy: Movies. Mostly independent films, some Oscar winners, and documentaries. If you want popular movies, you’ll do better looking on Hoopla. There is a pretty good collection of Great Courses lectures on Kanopy, though. Learn something new about science, history, linguistics, politics. All sorts of things.
Naxos: Classical Music. That’s literally it. But they’ve got 2 million tracks, so if you really want classical. This is the place to go.
Mango Languages: Learn a new language! They’ve got Pirate English and Shakespearean English, along with actual languages that are useful in everyday speech. There’s about 70 language courses to choose from.
Lynda: Find an online course or class in almost anything, and learn a new skill. Whether it’s photography, illustration, marketing, or something else, you’ll probably find it here.
This is not an exhaustive list. I literally just pulled this from the website of the library I personally work for. Your local one may have more services than the ones listed here, or it may have fewer. It may have different services that do the same things. Check their website. If you have a library card and a password associated with its online account, you will be able to use these types of services. If you don’t have a library card, many libraries allow you to create an online account that will give you access to these services, and then once we’ve slowed down this outbreak and things start opening up again, you can head into the library and they’ll be happy to help you convert your online card to one that has the full privileges of borrowing physical materials if you so choose.