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Making Better Use of Your Library Card with Free Apps

In this age of books, music, and video on demand, visiting a public library may seem like a quaint memory from a different time like taking a trip to Borders, Tower Records, or Blockbuster video. However, to better meet the needs of the digital consumer, libraries have been partnering with a variety of digital content providers to give their patrons access to resources without having to visit your local branch. All you’ll need is your library card and you get access to a variety of free entertainment and education options. With that said, here are a few of the more popular partnerships your library could be offering.

Books and Movies

  • Overdrive: Overdrive offers free books and movies on a variety of apps and formats, including Kindle editions. All the items are limited to what content the library owns and have an allocated quota per library, so there maybe wait times for popular items. However, it has probably the best selection of items for checkout out of all the library apps. This should make it your first stop for books.
  • Hoopla: Hoopla also has books and movies as well as music. This app works slightly different as it allocates you 15 items for checkout every month. It tends to also have a wider selection of comic books than Overdrive does (which is what I like about it).
  • Kanopy: Kanopy strictly offers movies, but has more of an indie, foreign, and classic bent than the other services. They offer 10 movies per month as your limit.


  • Freegal: Freegal offers 5 free downloads from their mp3 catalog a week, along with a streaming music app. Unlike the others, Freegal doesn’t limit your time with this music as the mp3s you download are yours to keep. So you could upload those downloads to a music locker like Google Play Music and stream from there as well.


In addition, you can also pass your time taking free online classes from the library as well, some of which are normally offered to you as a month subscription. Examples include:

  • Lynda: Lynda offers technical training in a variety of software like Photoshop and Illustrator, along with app and web development courses. Savings: $29.99/month.
  • Mango Languages or Rosetta Stone or some kind of language program:
    Yes your library also could offer foreign language training via the internet too. Savings: $19.99/month

Something to keep in mind is that the resources you have vary from library to library, so it’s possible that your library may not have some or any of these services. So ask your local library to see if it’d be feasible to add these services if you want them as well.

Did I miss your favorite library resource? Let us know in the comments below.

Posted in Applications, Books, Movies

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