The Kids Will Wonder How You Know the Words to All Those Taylor Swift Songs

by Danielle Braff for

You don’t have to be a nerd to appreciate the hidden world of virtual resources, which are offered by many U.S. public libraries.

Do you want to stream music, movies and audiobooks? Check out a hundred magazines? Learn a new skill? You can do all of this through your local public library for free.

Amid the pandemic, many libraries have changed their hours or checkout policies, but most online options are available and some have even expanded. Check with your local library for specific details.

Even better, you don’t have to be at a library to use these tools. You can experience these resources at home or on-the-go. FYI, some of the content — like particular movies or magazines — may vary from library to library.

Grab your virtual library card and read on for a list of free resources.


With Hoopla streaming service, you can watch movies and TV shows, listen to music and audiobooks and read eBooks or comics. They’ve got tons of new releases, such as “The Wife Upstairs” by Rachel Hawkins, and “Fly Away” by Kristin Hannah in addition to classics you may want to re-read, like the Harry Potter series. Plus, the site is beautifully designed, both as a desktop browser and app. (Check out the app via AppleGoogle and Amazon.) Your library may limit how many titles you can check out with Hoopla — for example, my library restricts me to 10 total items per month.

Here’s how to get the most out of this service:


Get pumped with the soulful beats of Taylor Swift’s latest albums (if you haven’t listened to “Evermore,” you’re totally missing out) or the resilient tunes penned by Fiona Apple on “Fetch the Bolt Cutters.” The kids will think you’re the best when you blast the “Trolls World Tour” soundtrack. Another bonus: It’s ad-free entertainment. If you add a musician to your favorites section, Hoopla will let you know the next time it acquires one of their albums.

Read more here.

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