Beyond Stacks & Storytimes: Check out Spartanburg County Library’s Digital Content

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Can’t go to the library but need something new to read, watch or listen? The Spartanburg County Library System has a large offering of digital content. You can borrow e-books, audio books, movies and more right from your computer, phone or tablet. Find out about the apps the library uses and what you can borrow using them.

I live about a mile from my closest public library. Because it’s on the way to and from my son’s school, I pop in there regularly to grab books for my kids and to pick up titles I’ve reserved for myself. Sometimes, when my two-year old daughter cooperates, we’ll drop-in for a storytime. It’s convenient, quick, and accessible. However, not too long ago, a friend recommended giving the libraries’ e-books a shot. (I was going on a trip and did not want to lug books around.) I was hooked!

I am one of those people who likes to have a book with me at all times—just in case a moment of quiet mysteriously appears. Yet, in my mad dash to get out the door, I often forget my book. Cue the e-books. If you share my need for an easy on-the-go book option, want to downsize on the amount of hard copies of movies, books, magazines, and music you have in your home, and/or just want to broaden your horizons with free resources, Spartanburg County Libraries’ various Downloadables deserve your attention.

Across several platforms or apps, you can read e-books, comics, and magazines; watch music videos, TV, and movies; and listen to audiobooks and music. While each platform is different, there are a few things they have in common. To access most of them, you have to have an active library account and, on several, you need to create accounts on each of the platforms. Just like any item you check out from the library, many items have a set loan period. When the loan period is up, you can no longer access the item you checked out without checking it out again. In some instances, an item will already be on loan and you’ll need to place a hold on it and wait—much like you would any item found in the stacks at the library. Each of the platforms is web accessible or you can usually download the app for your Apple, Android, and Kindle devices.

Apps for Digital Library Access

While these apps won’t give you access to every single title under the sun, they will give you (or your child) plenty! Here’s a quick description of what you might like (or love) about each app.

Biblioboard

What you can access: E-books
What’s to love:

  • This is a really nicely arranged set of fascinating works clustered by subjects or themes, such as “Who run the world? Girls.” and “Indie Spartanburg: Discover Books from Spartanburg Authors.”
  • Plus, there are no holds or even a need to check anything out. Everything on Biblioboard is available immediately.

Freegal Music

What you can access: Music and Music Videos.
What’s to love:

  • Freegal offers more than 15 million songs across 200 genres!
  • It’s a fun app for exploring new music via their various recommendations and playlists.
  • Their Featured Playlists showcase some seasonal tracks, such as a playlist of poems for National Poetry Month or songs about or by Irish singers for St. Patrick’s Day.
  • You can download five songs a week—and keep them.

Hoopla

What you can access: Ebooks, Audiobooks, Comics, Music, Movies, and TV shows.
What’s to love:

  • This app is a workhorse and offers a lot!
  • Looking for items for a child? There is a “Kids” option you can check, which then allows the app to only show you kid-friendly material.
  • You can also edit your recommendation settings. Do you like hip-hop music and books about gardening? Then simply click on those subjects and the app will recommend items for you.
  • Have someone obsessed with Frozen in your household? You can download the Frozen II soundtrack and read a few Frozen II read-along books. We also love Mo Willems in our house and there are several Mo Willems audiobooks and movies (including a few biographies about Willems himself).
  • Need a quick TV show to help your kiddo avoid a meltdown as you check out at the grocery? (We’ve all been there!) Paw Patrol. Daniel Tiger. Magic School Bus. Shimmer and Shine. Hoopla has many of your child’s favorites.

Kanopy

What you can access: Movies
What’s to love:

  • You can stream movies on several types of devices: Apple, Android, Roku, and Chromecast.
  • There is unlimited viewing on Kanopy Kids, which also includes parental controls.
  • If you’re browsing movies in Kanopy, they’re presented in really unique categories like “Oscar Winners and Nominees,” “Best Films of the 2010s,” and “Feel-Good Movies.”

OverDrive

What you can access: Ebooks & Audiobooks
What’s to love:

  • OverDrive was my first true love in regard to the library’s download services. It’s easy to use and has plenty of popular titles. I’ve found books that were read in my book club, such as The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty, The Library Book by Susan Orlean, and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Richardson, to name a few.
  • Spartanburg County Libraries offer an OverDrive Kids eReading Room and a Teens eReading Room, making it easy for your kids to find something that interests them. They also have plenty of popular kids’ titles! My 5-year old son will be jazzed to learn he can access more Pete the Cat books from the comfort of home.

RBdigital

What you can access: Audiobooks and Magazines.
What’s to love:

  • I am thrifty and for some reason magazines always seem too expensive. RBdigital to the rescue! We may be ditching the two magazine subscriptions we have thanks to this app.
  • We’ve really gotten into podcasts in our house lately and, once my son gets older and his attention span a little longer, I will gladly check out some of the audiobook titles on Rbdigital. Their catalog includes popular contemporary fiction (i.e. Diary of a Wimpy Kid) and plenty of classics like The Land of Oz by Frank Baum.

TumbleBooks

What you can access: Animated & Talking Storybooks, Chapter Books, & Graphic Novels
What’s to love:

  • If your family is multi-lingual or someone is learning French or Spanish, there is an array of titles available.
  • This site includes some of our family’s favorites like Geronimo Stilton, Lego Ninjago, Duck! Rabbit!, and Good Night, Good Night Construction Site.
  • Feeling overwhelmed by their selection? Check out their daily picks: Story Book of the Day, Read-Along of the Day, E-Book of the Day, Graphic Novel of the Day, Non-Fiction of the Day and Video of the Day.

I am regularly impressed by public libraries and these services really solidify this opinion. While the tangible feel of a book in your hands is difficult to replicate, digital media comes with benefits that a book can’t beat!

Which of these Downloadable services do you use? Which one will you check out?

About the Author
India Menon is a native New Orleanian married to a South Indian immigrant. They have lived in Greenville since 2011. A former educational researcher, she is now a stay-at-home parent to two children and organizes a local Meetup group for stay-at-home moms. Fueled by coffee and good humor, she enjoys playing outdoors, cooking, eating, reading, and plenty of Pinterest fails.

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