Top 8 Public Library Services You Can Use Without Visiting The Library
by James Coulter
National Library Appreciation Week is from April 19 to 25. It’s a time to recognize and celebrate the many ways our public libraries help to enrich, educate, and entertain our local communities.
Chances are, most of you probably haven’t visited your local library due to the recent coronavirus pandemic. However, the Polk County Library Cooperative (PCLC) offers many free on-line services that patrons can access without having to step foot into a library building. All you need is a library card, and having fun isn’t hard.
Check out these on-line services provided through PCLC:
#1: Books By Mail. Did you know you can check out items from the library without visiting it? With Books By Mail, you can access countless books, DVDs, and CDs through the on-line catalog and have them delivered directly to your mailbox or door step. When you’re done, simply return your checked out items in the deposit box of your closest local library. Best of all, items checked out through this service are available for one month, longer than the two-week checkout time. Learn more at: https://bit.ly/2WDQbNm
#2: Overdrive. How convenient would it be to check out a book without actually checking out an actual physical book? Overdrive offers a diverse digital library of e-books and audiobooks. Best of all, you can access and download these items for free with your computer, tablet, or even your smartphone. All you need to do is download the free Libby app, use your library card, and you can start checking out and placing holds on the digital content you desire most. Visit their website at: https://pclc.overdrive.com/
#3: Hoopla. Want to read an e-book? Listen to an audiobook? Watch a movie? Check out a comic book? Or rock out to a music album? What if you could do all that through one convenient app? Sounds like a bunch of hoopla? Good. Because it is! Through Hoopla, you can access and download countless e-books (including comic books and graphic novels), audiobooks, music albums, movies, and even episodes of television shows. Simply download the app to your smartphone, tablet, or even your smart television, and you can enjoy 10 free downloads per month. Visit their website at: https://www.hoopladigital.com/
#4: RBdigital Gateway. Want to read the latest edition of National Geographic? Rolling Stone? Newsweek? All without visiting a newsstand? RBdigital Gateway allows you to read and download countless full-color digital magazines, including new and backlist titles. Read them directly on your web browsers, or download them to your tablet or phone for later. Best of all, you don’t need to pay for any subscriptions. Through your library account, you can access the entire digital newsstand for free, as their website states, “with no holds, no checkout periods, and no limits.” Visit their website at: https://www.rbdigital.com/50emagazine/service/magazines/
#5: ComicsPlus Library Edition. Do you crave Japanese manga like Naruto or One Piece? Or graphic novel series like Bone or Big Nate? Or perhaps you prefer the wacky highjacks of Archie? Comics Plus Library Edition offers hundreds of comic books and graphic novels from publishers from Archie Comics to TokyoPop to Zenoscope! Download the free app to download as many items as you want and read them anywhere and anytime. Visit their website at: https://library.comicsplusapp.com/
#6: Lynda. Want to learn how to program a video game? Play the guitar? Take proffesional photographs? Learn countless other skills? All without having to pay for a course? Or even without leaving your house? Lynda is a “leading online learning platform” that provides hundreds of free on-line courses and classes in various proffesional and amateur backgrounds. All courses are provided by “recognized industry experts” and feature “high quality video” to show and explain exactly what to do. Best of all, their flexible class schedule allows you to learn at your own pace. Visit their website at: https://www.lynda.com/
#7: Kanopy. Interested in watching the Academy Award-winning film Moonlight? Or the critically-acclaimed film Midsommer? Or countless other independent movies, art films, and documentaries? Kanopy is a free streaming service that provides a diverse catalog of movies, including independent and films, that you can watch anywhere through your tablet, smart phone, computer, or smart television. For children, Kanopy Kids provides an equally fascinating library of educational and entertaining content. Visit their website at: https://www.kanopy.com/
#8: Rocket Language. Quiero hablar español? Ou parle français? Vielleicht sogar deutsch? Rocket Language, through their online course, offers their signature Mastery Method that allows students to learn a new language simply through step-by-step instructions and by speaking words out loud. Learn anywhere and anytime through your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Soon you, too, can learn a second language through “engaging listening activities, easy-to-follow grammar lessons and useful vocabulary words.” Visit their website at: https://www.rocketlanguages.com/