Guide to Digital Offerings at Your Library

Now that I’m staying home and safe with my preschooler, there are many small pleasures I once took for granted that I am desperately missing, such as scheduling playdates with friends, stopping at the playground on our walks, and getting a new stack of books at the library each week. If you and your family are also missing the library while you’re staying safe at home, I’ve got good news for you. The libraries in the Bridges Library System (in Jefferson and Waukesha counties) offer access to free library resources online! Below are some things you can do for free with your library card to keep learning, keep reading, and stay busy from home.

5 Things to do Digitally at Your Local Library

1. Get library books:

Wisconsin’s Digital Library gives you access to thousands of library ebooks and digital  audiobooks, including many children’s picture and chapter books. Get started by visiting or find the free Libby app in the app store. The digital library never closes!

2. Attend storytime:

The librarians at our member libraries are hard at work creating online storytimes, craft and activity videos, and even adult programs on their Facebook and YouTube channels. You can see the full list of online programming available on our website.

3. Read and watch without the wait:

This spring, we are offering a limited time trial of a free digital media service called hoopla. With your library card, you can download and stream movies, TV shows, audiobooks, ebooks, and more. Materials are available immediately so there are no holds, no wait lists, and no fines. Each library user is limited to four downloads per month. Take a look at Hoopla!

4. Keep learning:

We’ve collected a huge list of free online activities, resources, and tools on our website, such as school activities and virtual cultural site visits. Take a look at these resources. For adults and older students, try Gale Courses, an online learning platform with over 360 instructor-led classes in everything from ACT Test Prep to Spanish to Photoshop. All classes are free and available with your library card. Sign up for a class here.

5. Read for fun:

Flipster is an online collection of digital magazines, which you can read on your
computer or on your mobile device with the free Flipster app. There are over 90 magazine titles to choose from, including People magazine, Parents magazine, Ranger Rick Jr., Better Homes and Gardens, and much more. You can even see new and past issues! Visit HERE to start reading.

Some other things to know:

  • Due Dates. If you already have library materials checked out at home, don’t worry about returning them. Due dates on all library materials have been extended to May 1 and fines won’t accrue until them. So enjoy some extra time with those books and movies!
  • Library Closures. All of our member libraries in Waukesha and Jefferson counties are currently closed until further notice. However, you can check on the status of your public library at our website or follow your library on Facebook to stay up-to-date with them.
  • Digital Cards. If your library card was set to expire, we’ve updated it so it’ll remain active until September. However, if you don’t have a library card, you can get a temporary digital card HERE. The temporary card will last for 60 days and then you’ll need to visit your library to get a physical one. Hopefully, your library will be open for business by then!

As Ron Weasley says in the Harry Potter books, “When in doubt, go to the library.” Your library and librarians are still here for you during this time. Stay healthy and we hope to see you back at the library very soon!

Follow the Bridges Library System on Facebook or Instagram.

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