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7 Ways To Use The Library Without Leaving Your Couch

Laurel Bocka February 23, 2021

Did you know that your library card gives you access to thousands of free ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, movies, music, and online courses?  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 7 resources are available online 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 200 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. 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 of our other 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 12 regular checkouts a month and a maximum of 12 Flex Borrows at a time!  Regular checkouts are available instantly with no wait time, Flex Borrows can be placed on hold but there’s no monthly checkout limit, you just can’t have more than 12 at a time.

3. 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.

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.  

We also have a few different options for online learning!  Whether you’re looking for a new hobby or trying to advance in your job, we have so many options for you to choose from!

5. Lynda.com from LinkedIn- Lynda.com has been established as the go-to website for mastering computer or technical skills with online courses!   Thousands of courses are available with new videos being added daily.  There is no limit to how many courses you can watch!  There are individual courses, course series, and course playlists so you can choose how in-depth you want to go with a topic.  With each course completed, you will receive a certificate of completion.  Courses vary in topic from marketing and business skills to audio mixing and animation techniques!

6. 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 out. 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.

7. Infobase Learning Cloud (formerly Hoonuit)- Whether you’re just getting started on the computer or you want to take a basic coding class, Infobase Learning Cloud 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 or Lynda.com Courses.  You’ll need an account to get started, but if you already use the RBDigital app, Infobase Learning Cloud 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 a large magazine collection
Hoopla - Great selection of music, TV series’, and movies.  Decent selection of ebooks, audiobooks, and comics.
Freading - Good selection of travel guides, graphic novels, and inspirational romance.  Ebooks only.
Kanopy - They have movies!  Strong selection of indie, foreign, and educational films.  No new blockbuster movies.
Lynda.com - Well-established video courses on computer and technical skills.  Each course completed will offer a certificate of completion for the viewer.
Gale Courses - Instructor-led online classes taken over a few week’s time.  More business and hobby-related.
Infobase Learning Cloud - Video courses on computer and technical subjects.

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