To commemorate National Library Week — April 3 to 9 — we are taking a deeper dive into over 60 online resources available to Garfield County Library patrons, for free, with a library card.
Tracy Kallassy, Carbondale branch manager, said two popular streaming services — Hoopla and Kanopy — are big hits with library patrons. Hoopla offers a wide variety of digital movies, TV shows, music, audiobooks and e-comics. Kanopy, meanwhile, presents film festival favorites, cult classics and award-winning documentaries and is limited to 10 viewings per month.
“I have people telling me they don’t even check out DVDs anymore because they like streaming films,” Kallassy shared.
Jenn Cook, Garfield County Libraries technical services manager, keeps tabs on the latest online services available to library systems. She reported that Kanopy, available to Garfield County Library patrons since January 2020, has a usage rate of about 850 videos per month, remaining relatively steady since modest increases in the earliest months of the pandemic. Hoopla, available since March 2020, saw an increase from 2,200 to 3,700 users, Cook cited.
Among the services available for kids, Kanopy Kids offers TV shows, movies and animated books and unlimited viewing access. Scholastic BookFlix pairs classic animated stories with nonfiction ebooks to build a love of reading and learning for children in pre-kindergarten through third grade. One-on-one live homework help, tutoring and writing assistance are provided by Brainfuse HelpNow.
Kallassy said, “The people who use it love it, but I wish that more people knew about it. We’ve got so much stuff on our website that we offer access to for free.”
Ancestry.com (accessible in the library only) is available for genealogy research. Another online resource is Consumer Reports for unbiased product reviews, “which is a service that many people pay for but they don’t realize they can get it from the library for free,” Kallassy shared.
Libby, the library’s online reading application from OverDrive, a digital distributor, lets you read ebooks, audiobooks and magazines. There are newspaper archives, like NewsBank, and national newspapers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Mango Languages offers lessons for practical conversation in over 70 languages. Brainfuse provides one-on-one live homework help and tutoring. LearningExpress and LearningExpress en español help you prepare for exams with practice tests, including the GED, ACT, SAT, and for careers like commercial driving, the military and as a real estate broker. Auto Repair Source contains service and repair information for thousands of domestic and imported vehicles.
Of the online services catalog Kallassy said, “I’ve worked in other libraries, and I’m impressed with how robust our online digital collection is.”
Other services include checking out a laptop or Wi-Fi hotspot for up to three weeks. “People use them for all sorts of reasons. We’ve had people who only have a desktop at home, but they’re traveling, so they check out a laptop. Or they move and haven’t gotten their internet service set up yet, so they get a hotspot,” Kallassy shared.
The Carbondale branch has been expanding hours over the past few months and is now open until 8 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday. Beginning on May 1, they will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays “for the first time ever,” Kallassy said.
The full menu of free online services can be found at www.gcpld.org under the “Research” tab. If you sign up for the library’s e-newsletter, Kallassy said, “you will get the nitty-gritty details of each resource.”
To register for a library card online, go to: www.bit.ly/GCLPDlibcard
Online registration gives you instant access to online materials, followed by a visit to your local library within 90 days to complete your membership to gain full library privileges.