if the library doesn’t Already exist, our current political system will never allow us to build them. The concept is so revolutionary: All human knowledge and entertainment can be accessed by all without direct economic cost to customers.
I recommend doing so if you haven’t visited your local library in a while. It represents democracy at its best and, as a concept, goes far beyond the books. Most libraries also have collections of music, movies and TV shows. Then there are digital products. Services like Overdrive offer ebooks and audiobooks, while Tumblebook offers narrated and animated children’s stories.
Most people know this, but at this point, many libraries have digital offerings that go far beyond that. For example, many offer free digital access to magazines and newspapers that are otherwise behind a paywall, or free access to online courses, music, and streaming movies. Here is a breakdown.
Note that not every library offers these services, but you may. Check your local library’s website, or ask a librarian by the way. They want to help you.
read newspapers and magazines
Overdrive offers access to e-books and also magazines and newspapers in some libraries. Other libraries may offer Press Reader or Zinio for this feature. The general concept is the same for all services: you can read the entire magazine on your computer, or even download the entire magazine to your phone or tablet for offline reading. It’s a great way to avoid scrolling through the hellscape of Twitter’s timeline, not to mention the benefits of reading in a format that’s edited by humans rather than algorithms curated.
Some libraries have deals with specific publications.For example, my local library offers a free three-day pass New York Timeswhich is perfect when I’m hitting a limit of 10 articles per month, or when I have a free morning and want to read the whole paper.
Of course, failing that, you can always get into the physical library. Most people have the latest editions of many different magazines and newspapers on hand that you can read on the spot.
Access learning resources
If you’re trying to learn a new skill and are considering paying for an online course, check with your local library first. Many libraries offer access to LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda), which offers video courses on a variety of digital skills. For example, some libraries offer free access to Masterclass.
The specific services offered vary widely, depending on where you live. It’s also worth noting that many libraries offer in-person educational programming, which means you can learn skills with other people for free.
Stream movies, TV shows and music
More and more libraries are offering access to Kanopy, a streaming service that features many fantastic documentaries in addition to an astonishing variety of TV shows and movies. Other libraries offer access to Hoopla, which offers TV shows, movies, and even music—you can often stream entire albums.
Don’t expect binge-watching — such services limit the amount of content you can watch or listen to each month. Still, there’s a lot of great stuff about these services, and they’re all free.
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