Staying Sane in Uncharted Territory Pt. 1: Libraries are your friend

Staying Sane in Uncharted Territory Pt. 1: Libraries are your friend

Stay home, stay safe.

Don’t go out.

Practice social distancing.

These are phrases that have been expressed globally in an attempt to slow down the spread of the novel virus, COVID-19, more commonly known as the coronavirus. In the midst of everything going on right now, things seem pretty scary. School has been cancelled, jobs have been lost, everything is closing or closed. Your lifestyle has likely been totally uprooted, and you’re struggling with how to adapt.

If you’re an extrovert, you’re probably going stir-crazy with the inactivity of being stuck in one place and the general lack of social happenings. Introverts, on the other hand, are either in absolute heaven, or if they live with an extrovert, also are going crazy being stuck at home with someone who wants to socialize all the time.

You’re not alone. Everyone is going through this with you, and I’m here to give you some tips on how to cope using resources that won’t cost you a dime!

Check Your Local Library

Libraries may be closed, but that doesn’t mean their services are! Almost every library (at least in the United States) has some form of an e-library where they offer electronic books, audiobooks, magazines, and sometimes even movies!

As long as you have a library card and an internet connection, you can access these digital materials free-of-charge! (If you don’t have a library card, check your local library’s website to see if they’re offering online card applications!)

Bookish things at the library

If you don’t have the urge to be out and about, and are perfectly content residing at home, see if there’s a book or two you might want to read! Many libraries have a host of e-materials available to you at the touch of a button, so it’s worth checking out. If you’re taking the opportunity to catch up on spring-cleaning while at home, there are plenty of audiobooks to listen to as you scrub the heck out of that long-forgotten corner!

Some online book services your library may offer are…

  • Libby
    • Libby offers access to e-Books and e-Audiobooks on a hold-based system similar to how you would normally check out physical materials at your library. If no one has it, you can borrow it right away, otherwise you can request to be added to the hold list.
  • Hoopla
    • Hoopla offers instant access to a host of e-Books and e-Audiobooks (and depending on your library, sometimes t.v. shows and movies are available!). Unlike Libby, you don’t have to wait for something to become available on Hoopla to access it. However, libraries will usually limit how many items you can download within a certain period.
  • TumbleBook Library
    • An online collection of picture books, games, graphic novels, and more to engage kids and help them learn!
  • RBDigital
    • Didn’t get your magazine fix in this week? Try out RBDigital! This is a service many libraries offer that allows you to check out popular magazines (and some have opted in for audiobooks as well)!
  • Kanopy
    • Kanopy is a library-specific streaming site for movies and documentaries!

Growing at the library

Many libraries offer educational resources online, either through apps or databases. You can their websites for more information on this, but some popular learning services are…

  • Mango Languages or Pronunciator
    • Free language apps (with a website counterpart) that offer simple, structured courses for several dozen languages to choose from! Think Duolingo, but on steroids.
    • An online homework help and tutoring service accessible anytime, anywhere.
    • Feeling lonely? You can use to track your family tree and genealogical history! If your library subscribes to this, you can temporarily access it from your home.
  • Gale Courses
    • You have the power to access and enroll in interactive, instructor-led courses ranging from topics on technology, education, finance, and more!

Programs at the library

With the closure of libraries comes the cancellation of library programming – sometimes the only opportunity for people to get out and socialize with other human beings and enjoy a break from normal life.

Well, some libraries have taken it upon themselves (with the help of their brilliant library staff!) to go virtual. Online programming is happening everywhere, and you can participate for free by following your library on their social media! Everything from online book group discussions, story times, crafting, and more will be happening from the homes of librarians to help you survive being at home.

The best part is – for most of these, you don’t even need a library card! You just need to hop on your social media (think Facebook, Instagram Live, YouTube, etc.) at the time the program will start.

If you don’t know how to do these things, or navigate your phone or computer to get started with e-books or online programs, see if your library is offering remote support! This can take the form of online chat (from the website), email support, or phone support. A friendly library staff member may be able to help walk you through getting everything set up so you don’t have to survive without your weekly book fix or library activity!

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