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Useful Free Apps (Available From Public Libraries in U.S.)


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If you live in the United States and have a library card from a public library, there are some apps that will give you FREE access to: E-books (Kindle and other); audiobooks; television series and movies; music; games; and some assorted oddities that are fairly niche. 

LIBBY: Libby is primarily for reading and listening to books in digital form. It is built on the Overdrive platform, if anyone remembers that. You can use it to access adult E-books and audiobooks of all varieties: fiction, nonfiction, adult, children, teen, etc. It offers multiple languages as options (as long as the publishers have made these available) and has formats for Kindle and E-pub, so you can read on multiple devices. Libby's search feature is a bit more user-friendly than Hoopla's which is the next app I'll mention. But that could be my limitations, Idk. 

Hoopla: This is a digital media service offered by your local public library that allows you to borrow movies, music, audiobooks, eBooks, comics and TV shows to enjoy on your computer, tablet, or phone - and even your TV! And it offers a BingePass option that gives you access to things like Curiosity Stream, Masterclass, etc. Like Libby, it has language options other than English.  Warning, though: the search feature on this can be maddening, so if you're looking for something very particular that is odd and offbeat (my usual realm), you'll be seeking out your helpful librarian. 

Kanopy: This  is a free streaming service that offers over 30,000 movies and TV shows, but only for patrons of libraries that partner with it. You can stream a limited number of films each month, but unlimited content from its Kids section, which is available for public library systems. This has some very cool niche items, like the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment that His Holiness The Dalai Lama made available for anyone but is sometimes difficult to find. And great selection of non-English films and television. 

Let me emphasize again that these are FREE. All you need is a library card. (And a public library that participates in these. At one time I would have said ALL do, but given the current climate here in the U.S. regarding the attack on the public library system, once one of the greatest strengths of this place, I don't know that this is the case.)  


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They're all great apps, to the extent that I hardly buy books anymore. They're available in Canadian public libraries for free too.

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Good to know. Thanks. I have a friend who emigrated there from from India and recently became an official Canadian. She's really struggling. I'll suggest these as potential  diversions and aids! <3

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Hopefully she lives in an area that has community librarians! My local library does so many cool things : classes, book clubs, a seed library, Indigenous elders, social work and employment supports. Even very small libraries often have some of these free services.

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