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Trying to find a way to squeeze reading into your family’s on-the-go schedule? Mobile devices such as tablets, laptops and smartphones make it easy to access online libraries of e-books and audiobooks.
In this digital age, local organizations also make it simple for students to point and click their way to reading, no matter where they are.
The Palm Beach County School District, the Palm Beach County Library System and the 10 city libraries in Palm Beach County offer online book options — for free!
PALM BEACH COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Students who attend traditional public schools in Palm Beach County are assigned a login and password, which opens up a world of e-books through the district’s online portal. Using platforms such as MackinVIA and Tumblebooks, students can download or stream thousands of titles.
E-books from MackinVIA can be viewed on a laptop or desktop computer and are downloadable to mobile devices such as phones, iPads and Android tablets. Once downloaded, the books can be read until the loan period expires when they disappear from the device, or they can be renewed. Tumblebooks, which has collections for elementary school-aged readers, is a streaming service that requires a WiFi connection.
Only enrolled students can access the portal, says Hollyanne Ruffner, multimedia specialist with the district. Parents cannot receive credentials, nor can students who attend private, parochial or charter schools. The service is assigned to each student, so it follows them from school to school as they grow.
PALM BEACH COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM
With just a library card number, readers can click into the county’s thousands of free titles through download services, such as OverDrive, Gale Virtual Library, NetLibrary, Project Gutenberg and Hoopla. (Note: Hoopla e-books and audiobooks require an independent login and are not compatible with Internet Explorer.)
While all of the platforms are useful, cloudLibrary is the easiest to use, says Thalia Alvarez, a county library associate. CloudLibrary works on Android, iOS, tablets and computers by logging in with your library card number. Readers download titles into their app and are notified when their borrowing period ends.
“It’s a popular service with younger readers. E-books on the Sunshine State Young Readers picks, which schools use for their summer reading lists, are almost always checked out,” county librarian Marisa Montesino says,
Each city library also offers an online reading selection for their residents who have library cards in good standing. One thing that Ruffner appreciates most about the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach is that it welcomes "anyone who lives, works, learns or plays in West Palm Beach" to register for a free library card.
Check out the offerings by city:
- Boca Raton Public Library: https://www.myboca.us/979/Audiobooks-eBooks
- Boynton Beach City Library: https://www.boynton-beach.org/library/e-resources
- Delray Beach Public Library: https://www.delraylibrary.org/ebooks/
- Lake Park Public Library: https://www.lakepark-fl.gov/e-books
- Lake Worth Beach Public Library: https://sefl-municipal.overdrive.com/ and https://ebook.yourcloudlibrary.com/library/LakeWorthBeachPublicLibrary/Featured
- Lantana Public Library: https://www.lantanalibrary.org/e-library/how-to-read-from-home
- Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach: https://www.wpb.org/government/mandel-public-library-of-west-palm-beach/e-books-movies-music
- North Palm Beach Public Library: https://www.village-npb.org/473/e-Books-and-More
- Palm Springs Public Library: https://www.vpsfl.org/270/eBooks
- Riviera Beach Public Library: http://www.rivierabch.com/library
Book Riot provides free audiobooks to teens during the summer that they can download and keep, even after the summer is over.
• Hollyanne Ruffner, multimedia specialist, School District of Palm Beach County
• Thalia Alvarez, library associate, Palm Beach County Library System
• Marisa Montesino, librarian, Palm Beach County Library System