What if I told you that there’s a simple way to read new books, access movies and music, absolutely free, anytime and anywhere. Between so many streaming services with monthly fees, most people are not aware of the benefits they can unlock with this awesome free resource, and often underestimated…the Library Card.
A few months ago, while browsing through the app store on my phone, I discovered some amazing free apps that will level up your Library card game by allowing you to turn your mobile device or tablet into a portal of virtual learning and entertainment.
Check out these apps by signing up with your library card…you can thank me later.
This app, by OverDrive, lets you borrow thousands of ebooks and audiobooks instantly from your local library catalog, and when you’re done with them it will automatically get checked in so you won’t have to deal with late fees.
You can also place a hold on any item that’s not available at the moment. This will save you a place in line, will let you manage and see the status of your hold. You will receive a notification once your hold is available and will automatically be checked out for you.
The average time you can borrow the title is from 14-21 days but you can renew your loan before the due date if there are not too many people waiting in line for it. The app lets you see a preview of the book before borrowing and send the book to Kindle if you prefer. It has a juvenile filter you can apply to prevent mature content to show up if your kids are browsing through.
You can sign in into multiple libraries with different library cards, keep track of reading history, bookmarks, and sync across multiple devices. There’s a borrowing and loans limit at a time that is set up by your library; for example, my library only allows me to have a max of 8 loans and 10 holds at a time. If the max amount is reached then I would have to return a book before borrowing a new one. Another feature is that you can choose to download content for offline use.
This app offers a wider variety of items you can borrow, although their collection of ebooks and audiobooks are not as extensive as Libby. Not only you can find ebooks and audiobooks but you can also find comics, movies, tv shows, and music. The best thing…no waiting line, so you’ll be able to enjoy your picks immediately, not only from your smart devices but also your computer.
The borrowing limit for this app is a little different than Libby. There’s a monthly limit of borrows per month that varies among libraries and gets reset the first day of each month. There’s also a daily borrowing limit for the system that depends on their daily budget and resets every midnight, so the better chances for you to borrow your desired materials would be after midnight (if you’re a night owl), or in the morning.
You can only sign in with one library card at a time. Ebooks and audiobooks can be borrowed for 21 days, music for 7 days and movies for 3 days, and they will get returned automatically on their due date unless you decide to renew your loan (renewals count towards your monthly borrowing limit). Hoopla has Kids mode and you can also access borrowed content while offline.
If movies and documentaries are more of your cup of tea then you’ll enjoy exploring this video stream service. You can stream from your TV, computer or mobile devices. Here you’ll find a great collection of quality entertainment; from independent movies, world cinema, classic cinema, award-winning movies, inspiring and educational documentaries, short films and more.
You can access this service not only with a library card account but also with a College or University account. On the Kanopy website, you can verify if your library or university offers this service.
The videos are ad-free and the limit of videos you can watch per month varies depending on the library, this number will be known as a “play credit” and it will be displayed on the top of the bar. Once you check out a video you’ll have 3 days to watch it as many times as you like.
Kanopy has a Kids mode that features a collection of educational and entertaining films and series for ages 2 and up, with additional parental control options to display a more age-appropriate content. Kanopy Kids can only be accessed if you’re using a library card and not through a college or university account. One good thing is that there’s no limit on how many videos your children can watch while using the kids’ mode.
Your library card can do even more than you can imagine…
Head to your library’s website to discover other available services for members. Some libraries offer memberships for people outside their county or state by paying a small annual fee. You would be surprised with some of the resources they offer.
For example, these are some other materials I can borrow from my local library:
-Cameras, including a GoPro
-Binoculars and Telescopes
-Access to a maker studio equipped with sewing machines, laser cutter, 3D printer, soldering
equipment and more.
But that’s not all, you can also:
-Get discounts at museums.
-Join book clubs
-Participate in baby classes and kids activities offered in your library.
-Access to digital software like Adobe Creative Suite.
-Test prepping material for GED, GRE, MCAT, SAT, etc.
-Tutoring services through Tutor.com
-Learn new skills with courses in photography, finance, math, etc. using Lynda.com
Want more? Then head over your local library and discover great empowering resources.
Already have a library card?, then let me know other ways you enjoy its benefits.