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8 Ways to Visit the Library Without Leaving the Couch

Laurel Bocka January 14, 2020

Trying to figure out how to utilize your new tablet to its maximum potential?  Is “read more books” one of your New Year’s Resolutions?  Or are you simply trying to figure out how to do more while leaving the couch less in the winter months?  Whatever it may be, we have some solutions for you to get access to thousands of free ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, movies, music, and more!  Why pay for an ebook or an audiobook subscription when you can check out our collection for free?  Best of all, the books and movies return themselves so there’s no way to accidentally forget to turn the item back in!  The following 8 resources are available for free with your library card!  Some of them are apps on your phone, some of them can be accessed through a TV, and some are through your computer.  Click each link to get started.


  1. Libby- Libby is the official app from The Ohio Digital Library and it conveniently houses a large selection of our ebook and audiobook collection for us. (Thanks Libby!)  With this very user friendly app, you can check out up to 10 books at a time for 3 weeks each. You can search for new books, popular books, books that are available right now, or you can search by title, genre, or author.  

    If we don’t have what you’re looking for, there’s also an option to suggest a title for purchase through the app.  Along with books, Libby also has a collection of over 50 magazine titles that you can view digitally! Cooking & food, health, news, fashion, home & garden, and celebrity magazines are just some of the magazine genres you can search through!  

  2. Cloud Library - Cloud Library is similar to the Libby app in that you can check out adult, teen, or children ebooks and audiobooks.  The main difference between the Cloud Library and Libby is that there are not as many titles as there are on the Libby app. 

    This is both a pro and a con.  The Cloud Library might not have the exact book you’re looking for, but if it does, there is typically a shorter wait time for it!  We do try to keep a collection of best sellers in the Cloud Library collection, so if you’re looking for a popular newer release, it never hurts to search for it in this app!

  3. RBDigital- Like the first two apps listed, RB Digital also has a selection of ebooks, audiobooks, and digital magazines.  The RBDigital magazine collection has over 150 titles to browse; some of them are different than the titles available on the other apps, so if there’s a specific magazine title you are looking for or if you’re just looking to browse through your options, it wouldn’t hurt to check both of the apps.  

    RBDigital also has some exclusive content from some authors and series and they are an easy way to get the Harry Potter audiobook without waiting!  With RBDigital, you do have to set up an account in order to check out materials but that will keep your library card associated with your username so you don’t have to remember your card number to log in.

  4. Freading- The main difference with the Freading app compared to the other digital reading apps is that Freading only offers ebooks.  Just because they’re limited in format availability doesn’t mean they are limited in selection! Freading has a variety of ways to browse books including by genre, books by a specific author, travel books, spark notes, and more.  

    There is a good selection of Lonely Planet Travel Guides, graphic novels, and inspirational romance available through Freading.  You will need to have a free AdobeID in order to download and read the books from Freading.  

  5. Hoopla- Hoopla has a little bit of everything!  Audiobooks, ebooks, movies, music, TV shows, and comics!  There’s a large collection of movies from newer releases to classics and everything in between.  As for music, you can browse your current favorite artist, find the soundtrack from newly released movies, and you can even look through the albums and artists that have been nominated for different awards during this awards season.  

    Let’s not forget the TV show and comic book collection!  There are titles that aren’t available for checkout on any other of our apps!  Bottom line, whether you’re looking for a specific item or not, you can almost always find something you’re interested in on Hoopla.  Hoopla allows for 10 checkouts of any material per month and one of the best parts is that items are available to all users at all times so there are no hold lists and no waiting for materials!

  6. Kanopy- Yes, books are the best, but sometimes you just want to zone out and watch a movie.  If you’re tired of scrolling through the same list of movies available on your favorite streaming service, give Kanopy a try!  

    Kanopy is a free movie streaming service with popular movies, popular documentaries, foreign films, and more to browse from!  With your library card, you are able to check out and stream 5 movies a month! Similar to Hoopla, there is no hold list or waiting time for any of the materials.

  7. Gale Courses- Gale Courses are highly interactive, instructor-led online classes.  Some of the course topics include: business skills (software, accounting and finance, non-profit, sales and marketing, starting a business, and more), Microsoft and Adobe applications and software, foreign languages, medical and healthcare, art, and technology.  

    The interface of the website can be a little intimidating at first, but the quality of the content is worth figuring it out.  The courses are over the course of a couple of weeks and they are a little more in depth than Hoonuit. Gale courses have a discussion board with everyone taking the course at the same time (not just from MRCPL) and so if you have any questions about the material, another student or the instructor can answer on the discussion board.

  8. Hoonuit- Whether you’re just getting started on the computer or you want to take a basic coding class, Hoonuit probably has a class for you!  Unlike the Gale Courses, the Hoonuit classes are available immediately upon registering for the class. The classes are also typically shorter than the Gale Courses.  

    Check out a list of some of the courses available through Hoonuit here.  
    You’ll need an account to get started, but if you already use the RBDigital app, Hoonuit uses the same login information!  

And there we have it!  Get your app store open and find your new favorite app today! 
Want to get started right now but don't have a current library card?  No problem!  Click here to sign up for an ecard!

To recap:

Libby - Of all our apps, it has the largest selection of ebooks and audiobooks.  They also have magazines
Cloud Library - Smaller selection of books, but focused on bestsellers and books with buzz.  Shorter hold lists.
RB Digital - They’re the app to go to if you like magazines.  They also have ebooks and audiobooks.
Freading - Good selection of travel guides, graphic novels, and inspirational romance.  Ebooks only.
Hoopla - Great selection of music, TV series’, and movies.  Decent selection of ebooks, audiobooks, and comics.
Kanopy - They have movies!  Strong selection of indie, foreign, and educational films.  No new blockbuster movies.
Gale Courses - Instructor-led online classes taken over a few weeks time.  More business and hobby related.
Hoonuit - Video courses on computer and technical subjects.

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