With schools closed for an indefinite period of time — for most universities, the remainder of the semester — another big loss to families and students is the closing of public libraries. Yes, pretty much everything is closed, and it makes sense that such a communal area is unavailable for the time being; However, libraries offer invaluable resources and services that some people, myself included, probably took for granted up until now.
Beyond the fact that they provide media for patrons to borrow, such as books, magazines and movies, libraries provide events for community members of all ages and a quiet place to study or meet up with someone. Luckily, if you had materials taken out during this time, most libraries have announced that no overdue fines will be applied. But how to adjust in the meantime? Many local libraries and online sites are offering increased digital services for you and your loved ones to continue educating and entertaining yourselves.
We hope you’ll find something to relate to—and something to listen to at the same time: https://t.co/2AntV6hbNo
— Audible (@audible_com) April 2, 2020
Audible.com, the popular Amazon site that sells digital audiobooks, in addition to radio and TV programs and even audio recordings of magazines and newspapers, is normally $14.95 a month; However, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial where you can listen to up to three audiobooks. Though a little pricey, the company just launched Audible Stories for readers of all ages and levels to use. The service is aimed at providing stories for younger learners, but provides sections from “Littlest Learners” to “Teen” and “Literary Classics,” as well as in six different languages, so there truly is a diverse catalog. They just released the U.K.-recorded version of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” with Stephen Fry, so be sure to check that out!
Scribd is another popular audiobook service, offering unlimited books and audiobooks for $9.99 a month, or a free 30-day trial that you can check out once your free trial of Audible runs out. They’ve got books like “Sapiens” and “The Hobbit” available to listen to.
If all else fails, some popular or older books whose copyright limits have run out have audiobook recordings for free on YouTube. Project Gutenberg and the Library of Congress offer older literary classics to download for free, like “Frankenstein” and “Pride and Prejudice.”
Access all this digital content with your Wallingford library card here: https://t.co/eAUbcXULH6
Need help? Click the video camera icon next to each service for a video tutorial! pic.twitter.com/51YwF8b2NJ
— Wallingford Library (@Walpublib) March 30, 2020
Popular online services utilized by libraries, such as the LION libraries of Connecticut, include Overdrive and Hoopla. These services include ebooks, audiobooks, movies and more. OverDrive is more of a specialized streaming service for books and audiobooks, from popular titles such as “The Goldfinch” and “Unbroken,” while Hoopla more so encompasses all the materials provided by your local library, like movies, TV shows and music in addition to books and audiobooks.
Check the website of your town library, which may not only offer a “digital media” page (check out this one for the Wallingford Public Library), but also updates specific to COVID-19 changes to their functioning services. Many libraries will still have librarians available to talk to on the phone and through email during regular business hours, so if you have questions on how to access materials or any other community resources you may need, such as career or automotive support, don’t be afraid to reach out.
In light of the closing of their physical branches, libraries with digital collections have also extended their loan limits, such as the North Haven Memorial Library allowing residents to take out up to 10 titles a month, up from five. Some libraries are also promoting their online registration for library cards for citizens who may not be signed up yet.
There are a lot of options if your own collections are seeming a little lacking and you’re used to some variety with your reading. Libraries and librarians are an excellent source of information, so be sure to check out your local library’s website and reach out to their staff if you have any questions — now is as good a time as any!
Hollie Lao is a staff writer and the social media manager for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.