Sonoma Valley library offers wide array of ebooks, audiobooks and streaming services
The doors to the Sonoma Valley Library may be closed, but its online services open up a world of content for free.
Sonoma County Library cardholders can check out eBooks and audiobooks, movies, TV shows, music, access the world's largest digital newsstand, as well as peek around on genealogy websites, take advantage of tutoring services, job search and much more.
Public library ebook and audiobook use was up 20 percent in 2019 and Sonoma County's public library has increased its investment dramatically in digital resources in recent years.
'As we discover better ways to serve our communities in this time of transition, we're adding and expanding our digital resources every day,' said Sonoma County Library Director Ann Hammond. 'A personal favorite is the expanded collection from Hoopla, which includes guides and recommendations for book clubs.'
Susan Berry is a big fan of the library's online ebook site, Overdrive.
'I have been downloading ebooks onto my Kindle for several years,' she said. 'Ebooks are so convenient and [Overdrive's] Libby app makes it a seamless transaction.'
Juna Carle uses the Hoopla app and praises its selection of ebooks and audiobooks and she said she enjoys listening while she sews.
'I like it because it keeps a record of what you've checked out in the past, which not all apps do,' she said. 'Audiobooks are good company while doing chores. You can download to your phone, put on your headphones and go.'
Amy Bess Cook found the Libby app and is thrilled at how much money she has saved by not having to buy audiobooks online.
'I've found heaps of good audio content for free,' she said.
Search for any of the online resources below within the library site at sonomalibrary.org, download the relevant app if needed, and enjoy free access and hours of potential entertainment and enrichment.
Residents who don't yet have a library card can obtain one online at sonomalibrary.org, click 'Get a Library Card.' Only a local address is needed.
Movies and videos
Similar to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon PrimeVideo and other consumer services, Hoopla Digital lets library cardholders stream thousands of movies and TV shows anywhere. Hoopla Digital currently has over 500,000 titles to choose from and titles are simultaneous-use, so there are no holds or waiting for a hot pick.
Kanopy is a streaming movie collection of more than 30,000 of the world's best, classic and groundbreaking films which can be streamed free with your Sonoma County Library card. The lending limit is six credits per month.
BookFLIX offers video storybooks of classic children's books and are paired with a related nonfiction e-book.
E-books and audiobooks
While you can't check out printed books, the Sonoma County Library system offers tens of thousands of e-books which can be read on a dedicated e-reader, smart phone, tablet or computer, or audiobooks that can be accessed on any device, via headphones.
With thousands of titles in all areas of fiction and nonfiction to choose from, often in Spanish as well as English, there is always something to read. E-book and audiobook lending libraries never close and card holders have 24-hour access to check out and return books. All e-books and audiobooks automatically return themselves, so there are never any late fees. You can check out up to 12 books for seven, 14 or 21 days.
The primary access point for the library's e-books and audiobooks is the library's Overdrive site and its free and easy-to-use app, called Libby. In addition, Enki, Hoopla and Open Library specialize in e-books.
Need a book recommendation? After logging into the library site, cardholders can obtain recommendations through the NoveLIST site.
Magazines and newspapers
The library has a huge array of newspaper and magazine subscriptions that can be accessed online, both current and historical.
MasterFile includes full text articles from more than 2,000 magazines, journals and newspapers. RBdigital includes more than 100 magazine titles. The California Digital Newspaper Collection and Newspapers.com have local and statewide newspapers to look through from the early 1900s to today. Cardholders can also access New York Times regular newspaper content from 1851 to the present.
For kids, the library offers current and past issues of National Geographic's Kids magazine. BookFLIX offers classic children's picture books are paired with a related nonfiction e-book. The site is aimed at preschool to third grade, and it's perfect for early or reluctant readers and as well as English language learners.
The library offers cardholders a free subscription to Lynda.com, a LinkedIn platform that helps people to 'learn business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals.' Members have access to a video library of 3,000 courses taught by industry experts on specific skill areas like databases, spreadsheets, Photoshop, multimedia production, and more.