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Sonoma Valley library offers wide array of ebooks, audiobooks and streaming services

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Free digital access at the library

eBooks

Audiobooks

Movies and TV shows

Music

Newspaper and magazines

Genealogy websites

Tutoring services and test prep

Job search help and much more.

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.

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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.

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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.

Free digital access at the library

eBooks

Audiobooks

Movies and TV shows

Music

Newspaper and magazines

Genealogy websites

Tutoring services and test prep

Job search help and much more.

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.

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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.

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Online learning

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.

LearningExpress Library features nearly 1,000 online tutorials to help library patrons of all ages improve the skills required for academic and career success. It offers job search and workplace skills improvement, career certification and licensure exam prep, college and grad school entrance test prep, and more.

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Tutoring

Through the library site, Sonoma Valley students can access Tutor.com. All of its services are live, on demand and online. Homework help, tutoring, peer coaching, professional development, training, career help. Its experts are online 24/7 ready to help. For grades K-12, one-to-one homework help and tutoring online in real-time for fourth through 12th graders in more than 60 subjects thanks to more than 3,000 subject-matter experts.

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College admission support

Learning Express includes college admissions test prep for the ACT, SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, AP exams, TOEFL and essay writing support. The site also includes Career Match to explore occupations, search for jobs and internships, a career library and scholarship finder. There are graduate school admission exams, College Placement Exams and CLEP Exams, as well as occupational test prep.

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Foreign languages

Mango Languages is an online language site that offers 71 language courses as well as English lessons in 17 languages and specialty courses to teach cultural differences.

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Local authors

The library’s Local Authors project is focused specifically on raising the profiles of writers with connections to Sonoma County — broadly defined as residing at any point in their lives in Sonoma County — and making their works more visible and accessible to readers.

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Special resources for wine lovers

The Biblioteca Vinaria Sonoma draws from the Sonoma County Wine Library’s collection of historic books and documents covers all aspects of viticulture and winemaking. A second service, the International Wine Research Database strives to be the most comprehensive bibliography of wine literature in the world.

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Legal help

The library’s online Legal Information Reference Center is a great starting point for researching your legal issue and getting the forms you need. The site includes forms for accidents and personal injury, bankruptcy, buying and selling a house, consulting and contracting, divorce, getting a Green Card, patents, wills and trusts, copyright and trademarks, and more.

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Small business advice

The library’s online Small Business Reference Center is a starting point for researching topics relating to starting or running a company. The site includes expert advice on how to deal with contract and employee issues, minimize taxes and avoid legal problems.

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Researching your family tree

The library has a few options for cardholders who would like to learn more about their family tree. ProQuest offers genealogy resources. The Ancestry Library Edition provides access to family history via documents that record the lineage of individuals from around the world. HeritageQuest Online includes primary sources, local and family histories and interactive census maps. Cardholders can explore military records, casualty lists, widow’s claims, orphan petitions, land grants, and other interesting historical documentation to aid in your family research. Cardholders can also access America’s Obituaries (1977 – current) which contain ancestor names, dates, birthplaces, marriage info, death records, and other relevant family history information. New obituaries are added to the database daily. The library’s Local History & Culture site also provides access to digitized images, documents and more that illuminate Sonoma County history and culture.

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Miscellaneous

Ready for some retro fun? The library’s Internet Archive has tons of arcade games you can play in your browser for free at archive.org/details/internetarcade.

The library site also includes a wide variety of other services ranging thousands of political, physical, environmental and scientific maps to detailed information you need to tackle automobile maintenance and repairs

And more options may be coming online. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Macmillan Publishers lifted an embargo that made it difficult for libraries to provide recently released e-books.

Visit sonomalibrary.org/locations/sonoma-valley-regional-library.

Email Lorna at lorna.sheridan@sonomanews.com.

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