Are you or your family under self-quarantine or lockdown due to the Coronavirus? Or has your employer asked you to work from home? With the Coronavirus (COVID-19) being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization lots of people are stuck at home waiting. So what can you do during that time once you’re tired of binge-watching shows or you’ve read all the way through your pile of books? You may not know it, but your local public library offers all sorts of online services to help get you through your extended homestay — and it is all completely free of charge.
Here is a list of some of our favorites:
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Ebooks and audiobooks by Libby
Libby is a mobile app presented by Overdrive which allows you to connect with your local library collections using your phone or tablet, giving you access to a broad collection of ebooks, audiobooks, and even graphic novels and picture books for the kids. Libby will keep track of the books loaned out to you and even allow you to download ebooks to your Kindle device. Track your reading activity, leave multiple notes and bookmarks to track your progress, and preview new books with a tap until you find the perfect one for you. Libby is user-friendly and easy to set up — just download the Libby app in the Apple or Google Play store, enter your library card number, and away you go!
Learn a new language with Mango:
Mango is a language-learning service that partners with public libraries across America to offer courses in over 70 different languages, from Arabic to Yiddish. Brush up on a new tongue for fun, to expand your ability to communicate across the world, or to give yourself a competitive edge professionally. Mango has interactive lessons that emphasize conversational skills and cultural education, as well as a collection of foreign films in a variety of languages with a breakdown of the dialogue especially created for language instruction. For those who are learning English, Mango offers English instruction in over 20 different languages as well. Want to take your mind off worrying for an afternoon? Use Mango to learn how to speak Pirate with the whole family!
Get books, education, and more from RBdigital:
Recorded Books (RBdigital) offers a vast collection of ebooks, audiobooks, and other digital materials including comic books and magazines. RBdigital is the largest independent producer of audiobooks in the world! Of particular interest is their large selection of online educational materials including classes, training with popular software, legal aid, and test prep. RBdigital also has an extensive library of online fitness, wellness, and personal development classes available to choose from.
Browser magazines with Flipster:
Interested in keeping up with your favorite magazines when you’re under self-quarantine? Flipster allows you to access a wide selection of top magazines online — including such popular magazines as the New Yorker, Food Network Magazine, and Entertainment Weekly — via the device of your choice, allowing you to keep up with articles and events without dealing with deliveries or a frustrating magazine website experience cluttered with pop-ups and ads. Use the Flipster app to connect with your library and connect with their vast digital collection of magazines today!
Find new local authors with the Indie Author Project:
Ask your library about the Indie Author Project, which features a librarian-curated collection of top indie-published books across multiple genres, including exclusive ebooks from featured independent authors. Explore local storytellers from your region, or discover an up-and-coming writer before they make it big! With the help of the Indie Author Project and their independent publishing expertise, you can cut through the typical mass-market experience and discover something truly unique to read.
Check out movies and music with Hoopla:
Hoopla is a groundbreaking digital media service offered by the local public library that allows you to borrow movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics, and TV shows to enjoy on your computer, tablet, phone, and even stream to your TV. Use your library card to sign up and begin checking out digital media entirely for free. Save yourself from expensive subscriptions or confusing package deals with the help of Hoopla and your local public library.
Brush up on your skills with Udemy:
With thousands of self-paced, on-demand video courses to choose from for various in-demand skills taught by world-class instructors, Gale Presents: Udemy can help you keep your work skills sharp during your time away from the office or pick up some valuable new skills. Udemy offers classes in over 75 different categories, covering subject areas in business, design, photography, development, marketing, and IT & software. Want to take a class on neuroplasticity exercises or speed reading? Udemy has many personal development classes as well.
Read the New York Times and other newspapers online:
Did you know that many libraries have an online subscription to the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and other major newspapers? Skip the paywalls and stay informed! Either login using your library card or use your library’s website to get a guest pass. Libraries also have access to many daily newspapers — including newspapers in your region — through ProQuest. Just check your library’s research and resources pages for availability and coverage.
Get Your Craft On with Creativebug:
If you feel the urge to craft or make some art during your downtime, Creativebug is here to help you scratch that creative itch. Not only does Creativebug provide unlimited access to thousands of online art and craft classes, but Creativebug is a virtual community of artists, crafters, and DIYers who share their ideas and inspiration with you. Creativebug offers classes and resources for a wide variety of arts and crafts, as well as other DIY activities such as baking, flower arranging, and home decor. Browse their extensive online library of patterns, templates, and resumes and find your next project.
Prepare for your next career with LearningExpress:
Not only is EBSCO’s LearningExpress a fabulous test-preparation resource for kids and teens, but LearningExpress can also let you explore career options as an adult. Prepare for entrance exams, take practice tests, and learn about any other required qualifications for various career fields, including air traffic control, law enforcement, cosmetology, and nursing. LearningExpress also has a high school equivalency resource center and can help prepare you for the GED.
Stay up-to-date on COVID-19 with DynaMed:
DynaMed, a medical database and clinical decision-making service provided by EBSCO, has generously opened up its pages on COVID-19 for free to all users (click here for the direct link). This information can help you stay informed about COVID-19 transmission vectors, symptoms, and other developments from epidemiologists and other trusted public health professionals. Please note however that this database is not a replacement for a trained physician — if you feel you are at risk of being exposed to COVID-19 or think you may be exhibiting symptoms of the virus, please contact a medical professional immediately.
As you can see, your public library offers a wide variety of services and apps giving you access to a world of online content. If you are curious about exploring your library’s free digital resources, check out their website or contact a librarian over the phone or email to ask about their offerings. Library staff are always happy to help with connecting you to just the right books or other material to pass the time or the perfect lesson to help you spend an extended homestay practicing or polishing up your skills. During these uncertain times, your local public library has got you covered — all for free and from the comfort of your own home.