As social distancing guidelines keep stretching into the future, you may be running out of things to keep your or your kids entertained at home. Here are several options to try if you’ve run out of books or movies or patience – all available for free!
Free with Your Library Card
The library may be closed, but our digital collections are open for business! For ebooks and audiobooks, check out OverDrive, also easily accessible through the Libby app for Apple and Android. Not sure of your library card number? OverDrive now offers instant access to eBooks, music, and online magazines with a cell phone number for people who do not have a library card, or whose cards are blocked.
Hoopla also offers a selection of ebooks and audiobooks, as well as movies, TV shows, music, comics and graphic novels. Hoopla typically has a 10 item per month limit. However, due to the COVID-19 shutdowns, Hoopla is offering Bonus Borrows, more than 1,000 top titles that don’t count toward your monthly limit. Download away!
Looking for magazines? Check out RBDigital’s collection of digital magazines!
Bored of Netflix and Hulu already? The library offers several streaming movie and TV show services, including Kanopy, IndieFlix, Acorn TV, Great Courses, and Stingray Qello. Check out our blog post Movie Night with Kanopy, Acorn TV, and more! for more information about getting started!
Looking for books on math or nonfiction for kids? Check out Mary’s great blog post about Tumble Book Library!
Suddenly have time for genealogy research? Ancestry.com Library Edition is now accessible at home – all you need is your library card number! Not sure where to start? Check out this previous blog post on researching your family history.
Looking to learn something while staying at home? Lynda.com offers high quality instructional videos taught by experts in the areas of business, software, technology, and creative skills.
Many companies are offering extended free trials or complimentary access to their services during COVID-19.
- Scribd, an ebook and audiobook subscription service, is offering a free 30 day trial.
- Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited is offering a 2 month free trial, giving you access to over a million titles.
- Enjoy thriller, suspense and horror films? Shudder is offering 30 day access with the promo code SHUTIN
- Sling TV is offering a free 14 days trial of its streaming TV service.
- CBS All Access is free until April 23 with code All
- HBO is offering nearly 500 hours of content, including The Sopranos, Veep, The Wire, and Succession for free. Look for the Stream for Free: No Subscription Required section.
- NFL Game Pass is offering complimentary access through May 31.
- NBA League Pass is offering free access through April 22.
- NHL.com is offering free access replays of the 2019-2020 season.
- If you want a little sport history, Ken Burns’ Baseball documentary series is streaming for free through PBS.
Missing live theater and musical performances?
- The Metropolitan Opera is offering Nightly Met Opera Streams on their website.
- The Berliner Philharmoniker has opened up their digital concert hall (over 600 performances!) – use the voucher code BERLINPHIL for free access.
- The National Theatre in London is posting new plays on their YouTube channel every Thursday.
- LeVar Burton is doing live readings via Twitter on Mondays (for kids, noon EDT), Wednesdays (for teens, 6pm EDT) and Fridays (for adults, 9pm EDT)
- Dolly Parton launched Goodnight with Dolly, a series where she reads a series of books from her Imagination Library.
- Want to take an online course while you’re at home? Here are 450 Ivy League free online courses!
- Academic journal database JSTOR is offering free access to over 6,000 articles relevant to the COVID-19 crisis.
- Many publishers on Project Muse are offering their resources for free!
- Many museums, aquariums, and zoos have been streaming live on social media, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
- Here’s what to read and stream for free during the COVID-19 pandemic from Marketplace
- A Running Guide to Services Now Free (or Discounted) in Response to the Coronavirus from The Wirecutter
- Getting Bored? Here’s A List Of Free Things That Weren’t Free Before Coronavirus from NPR
- Free entertainment to help you survive coronavirus social distancing from CNET
- LeVar Burton Reads Stories on Twitter and Other Livestream Learning Opportunities This Week from Smithsonian Magazine