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How to get books when the libraries are closed…

How to get books when the libraries are closed during the Coronavirus shutdown
How to get books when the libraries are closed during the Coronavirus shutdown

Please share this with your fellow-book-lovers!

It seems like the entire country is shutting down thanks to COVID-19! One of the recent shutdowns that is directly affecting me is the closure of my local library system.


I use the library all of the time to create and update curriculum schedules, besides feeding my voracious book addiction! When I was homeschooling, I used it even more (feeding 3 young minds is a full-time job!) and we used to come home with a trunk-load of books on a regular basis. If you are wondering how you are going to keep your homeschool going when the libraries close, I have a few tips for you on keeping the readers in your family happy. 🙂

Research the electronic resources your library has access to such as:


Hoopla Digital provides a wide range of digital content and allows library patrons to download or stream media content for free. Hoopla has videos, books, music, and graphic novels available!

Overdrive and Libby – Overdrive gives you access to tons of e-books and audiobooks. Use the free Libby app to sign into multiple libraries or use more than one card for each library.

Libby can also send books to a Kindle and show you all of your loans and holds on a single shelf (even if you are using more than one library’s access to Overdrive).

Libby app through OverDrive
Flipster magazines

Flipster – You can check out digital versions of magazines from Flipster. What’s available will vary from library to library, but there are usually some really great offerings like Time, craft magazines, Consumer Reports, Babybug, Cricket, cooking magazines, health & nutrition magazines, and more!

Zinio – This library subscription gives you access to lots of magazines.


CloudLibrary – See if your library has a subscription! You can get tons of popular books to read on your computer, tablet, or phone.

CloudLibrary books
A small sample of books taken from the cloudLibrary homepage.

The Amazon Ecosystem

Use a Kindle or other tablet and purchase Kindle books at discounted prices. Ebooks are often less expensive than physical books. Some classic books are also FREE. I shop for books all the time via Amazon and I LOVE my Kindle. Since my library closed down, I’m going to be getting a lot of digital books in the months to come.

Kindle Unlimited has a 30-day free trial and sometimes has special deals where you can get a 3-month subscription for 99 cents! A subscription gives you access to the Kindle Unlimited Library of 1.4 million titles in eBook and audiobook format. Some of the books in our language arts program are free through this subscription like the books by Brian P. Cleary.

Amazon Freetime unlimited free trial

Amazon’s Free Time Unlimited gives kids access to books, apps, and videos for an inexpensive subscription. Try one month for free to see if the books available are a match for the program you wish to use. Note: The iOS version of the app only gives you access to books and movies. You need the Android version to access apps/games and other features. Some of the books in our Guest Hollow programs are featured in Free Time Unlimited (at the time of this writing) like An Ambush of Tigers, What do Authors Do?, National Geographic Readers: Sea Turtles, Eye to Eye, The Trojan Horse, and Phineas Gage.

Use Audible for audiobooks. Try it out for free for 30 days and get TWO free books you can add to your homeschool library. Audible is great for reluctant readers or for listening to “on the go.”

Try the free trial for the Amazon-owned ComiXology app. One of our customers shared that she was able to get two free comics for our American History Curriculum with her 30-day free trial!

Other Subscriptions and Online Freebies

Epic digital library for kids

Epic! is a digital library for kids 12 & under. You can instantly access 35,000 books, learning videos, and more. They have a 30-day free trial and right now are offering FREE access through the end of the school year (June 30, 2020) by teacher invitation. There is a nice selection of books and comics that can be read via a computer or tablet/phone.

FunBrain books – You can read a variety of books via FunBrain like Judy Moody, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and more!

Funbrain books - free books for kids
Storyline Online - free streaming books for children

Storyline Online The SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s award-winning children’s literacy website, Storyline Online, streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, James Earl Jones, Betty White and dozens more. (Thanks to my daughter Hannah for sharing this one!)

Everand allows you to subscribe and borrow tons of eBooks, magazines, audiobooks, and various documents (like sheet music). You can get a 60-day free trial if you use our link here: (and we’ll get a free month -woohoo and thanks in advance!). I use Everand all the time to borrow books when creating Guest Hollow curricula. It’s saved me a bundle!
With a subscription to Everand, you also get access to Scribd. Scribd is a digital document library, with over 170M documents and counting. You can think of it as a kind of YouTube for documents.

Open Library - free Ebooks lets you borrow hundreds of thousands of books in digital format. You can read the books online or download them in ePub, PDF, text, and sometimes Kindle format. A lot of the books in the Guest Hollow programs can be found at the Openlibrary website like A Patriot’s History of the United StatesColonial LivingThe Cartoon Guide to Genetics, and many more. has lots of free books, magazines, movies, software, music, and more. You can search and see if it has the book or magazine you need in a digital format.

Internet Archive - Free books, movies, software, music, and more
Project Gutenberg - free books

Project Gutenburg – Check out this library of over 60,000 free eBooks in a variety of formats. You can read them online, via a Kindle, tablet, phone, etc.

Used Book Websites

There are lots of websites besides Amazon where you can get used books if you need to have a few books in hand vs. digital books. Pay attention to the recent recommendations about virus spread via surfaces to know if this is the right option for you. 


Thriftbooks – If you click the link and spend $30 after signing up for the ReadingRewards program, you get a free book and so do we! 😉
You can also get a teacher’s discount for Thriftbooks! Homeschoolers qualify!

Thankfully, there are so many options for reading that don’t require anyone to leave the house. I’ve already checked out a ton of books for my Kindle and will be settling in for some great reading during this time of family and reflection! If you have any go-to resources for books, let us know by sharing a comment! Please also feel free to share this post!

1 thought on “How to get books when the libraries are closed…

  1. Thank you for this list.

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