Depending on your personal circumstances, you may be in your first, second, or third week of sheltering in place. If you are one of our local “essential personnel,” thank you for carrying on for the benefit of all of us. No matter what our current circumstances, we are all having to continually adjust. There is comfort in knowing that no one is judging us for it – we are all in this together, even if it is #AloneTogether.

Now that the kitchen cabinets are all organized alphabetically and our list of honey-do’s is down to the stuff we are never going to do, we may find ourselves with time to read. Doesn’t it just figure that The Library would be closed when we finally want to relax with a book?! Fortunately, books are surviving the pandemic thanks to The Digital Library.

We can’t beam physical books to you, although I am sure there is a scientist working on that technology. The next best thing we can do is to help you access digital material for entertainment and learning while you are cooped up. We have several options for borrowing eBooks, audiobooks, eMagazines, and other digital reading materials. Some options are better suited for certain purposes than others, so we will get into that now.

holding ebook
Photo from Pexels

OverDrive. Download eBooks, audiobooks, and more to your device for digital reading. Pros: Probably the most well-known service for borrowing electronic books from libraries, OverDrive has a hearty selection in a wide variety of genres. To avoid the hassle of logging in from our website and Digital Library, you can download the app. The app is called Libby. You can find it in the App Store, Google Play, or wherever you get your apps. Font sizes for eBooks and speed rates for audiobooks are customizable in Libby. You can download OverDrive eBooks to a Kindle app if you already have that one (some titles are not offered in Kindle version). Cons: Digital books, like physical books, have a limited number available. So, if a title is checked out, you have to wait until it is returned to borrow it. We are purchasing more copies of popular eBooks, to help alleviate this issue. Placing a hold in Libby is easy, but you may have to wait in line to get it. The selection is good, but not exhaustive. When you can’t find the title you want, there are other options.

RB Digital. When I can’t find what I am looking for in OverDrive, I go to RB Digital. Pros: They used to be more known for eMagazines, but their eBook and audiobook selection is gaining popularity. Last year, they rolled out an unlimited audiobook collection that allows for multiple copies of a title to be checked out at once – no holds, no waiting. The RB Digital app is easy to use and offers reading recommendations. Cons: the interface for every app is different, and some who are used to using the Libby app have difficulty using the RB Digital app. Earlier versions had a lot of glitches, but recent updates have improved the user experience.

Hoopla. Originally branded as a movie and TV streaming service, Hoopla has branched out to offer more. Pros: Hoopla has a robust selection of eBooks and audiobooks, and it is a hot spot for comic books. They are offering a special “Bonus Borrows Collection” now through April 30th. Patrons can choose from 1,100 popular titles and borrow as many as they like with no limits. Hoopla also offers the Book Club Hub. Anyone can pull a virtual book club together with no experience necessary. Hoopla provides everything you need to get started. Cons: again, the selection is good, but it won’t have everything.

Those are the three main resources for recreational eReading in our Digital Library. There are others, including our educational resources and Freegal (a music streaming service that now includes audiobooks). Now that there seems to be time for it, you can discover all of the ways you can read for fun and lifelong learning in The Digital Library.

This just in! Announcing our newest digital reading resource - Freading. It has more than 200,000 eBooks, 1,100 publishers in all sorts of languages, with unlimited simultaneous access (no holds). New eBooks and publishers are added regularly, so the collection will continue to grow. There are free mobile apps for apple and android devices (but not for nook or Kindle eBook readers)- it will work for Kindle Fire. 

freading 728x90 app

As you are navigating your way through these digital resources, I encourage you to check out the tutorials in Niche Academy. You can find those tutorials in the Digital Library and also from any library website page by clicking the green “Tutorials” tab on the right side of the page. You can also call us at (208)263-6930 extension 1209 and leave a message with the basics of your question and we will get back to you as quickly as possible. You can email us or message us on Facebook Messenger. We are still here for you and we want to help you take advantage of library resources you can use in this difficult time.

Marcy Timblin, Public Relations and Marketing

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