Tag Archives: coronavirus

Social Media Collection Promotion Part 2

I’m in a weird time right now where I have a ton of (virtual) programming coming up to share with you all over the next few weeks–sometimes two virtual storytimes a week, sometimes a full week of Pokemon programming, sometimes a special Elephant & Piggie storytime, plus the weekly graphic novel book club–but I’ve been spending most of my work time preparing for those things or other future projects that I don’t want to write to you all about until they’ve happened.

So, I’m revisiting a project I wrote about two months ago, Social Media Collection Promotion through Instagram stories. I’ve continued this project since we’ve closed with a daily Instagram story advertising an ebook, series, ebook website, or virtual program.

When I started this project, I rotated through age ranges and formats more carefully–about 40 days into making Instagram posts, I stopped being as careful and just grabbed content that felt relevant and appealing. I still try to select titles that are either immediately available through Hoopla or do not have long hold’s lists through Overdrive or Cloud Library. Even though we have opened for curbside, I am still focusing on ebooks.

Some things I’ve learned:

  • Posts get about 200-250 views a day no matter who I tag, use of hashtags, popularity of materials, etc..
  • Engagements, profile clicks, and responses (and, from what I can tell checkouts) only really occur with materials that are already very popular–I got a stronger response when I shared that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is free to download on Overdrive and that the new Hunger Games prequel is available on audio via Hoopla.
  • Honestly? I don’t know how much of an impact these are having. Part of my personal goal for the year was to create a long term plan for social media collection promotion, and frankly I don’t know if it is worth it, at least through Instagram stories. Most of my viewers are library staff. I’d like to potentially try less frequent posts in a different platform–even an Instagram post once every two weeks–but that wasn’t an option before the pandemic, and I know social media has a different purpose at the moment as we start to reopen.

Instagram Stories – Picture Books:

Instagram Stories – First Chapter – Chapter:

Instagram Stories – Program Advertisement & General Service:

Virtual School Age: Virtual and Augmented Reality

I’ve been part of my library’s virtual storytime team for the last few months (and into the summer). Last week, I had a chance to dive into school age programming again.

This was my second foray into a virtual Innovation Academy program. I received zero feedback from the first program or from this program, so I have essentially no idea what patrons thought of either event, or if they even opened the documents I sent. So it goes with virtual programming.

Read more about the how, why, and pros and cons for this particular program series in my last post on this topic: Virtual School Age: Coding.

Some details on how this series works:

  • Program materials are designed and curated for ages 6-11.
  • Attendees register via Evanced (our regular event registration software).
  • On the day of the event, the program presenter emails attendees a video introduction as well as a PDF with resources, content, and activities to do at home.


The challenge with tech programs at home is coming up with tech ideas that only use technology the average family is likely to own–essentially, a computer and a smartphone. Coding was an easy choice, but so many of my regular in-library programs rely on physical technology (3D pens, 3D printer, Bloxels, various robots, etc.).

Augmented Reality just involves a smartphone–something that many people may already own (or at least those people who are signing up virtually for a virtual event).

I wanted to make this program a bit more focused with activities that build based on your knowledge and age–starting with defining the concept, moving on to exploring the concept, and finally creating something on your own.

This was a great plan until I spent way too many hours trying to find a tool that allows kids to create their own Augmented Reality apps or games. This feels like it should exist, and it does in a few forms, but most of those forms involve (1) apps that are outdated/don’t work with the newest Android/Apple updates, (2) software that costs money, or (3) apps that are in development by Princeton and will be SO COOL in three years.

To allow for that “create” portion of the program, I expanded the program topic to “Augmented and Virtual Reality.” While you can’t explore virtual reality without a headset, you can create some cool virtual reality tours with Google that can be made and shared without needing a headset. Is it as cool without a headset? No. Does it still get the point across? Yes.

Just like last time, I provided an instruction video for participants:

Participants can watch the video, or they can move straight to the packet, included below. It covers the concepts reviewed in the video, and also provides a written explanation of the resources and tutorial shown in the video.

Stay-at-Home Professional Development


As many of us will be telecommuting for a few weeks longer than initially anticipated, I updated some of the links below and added a few more suggested resources.

Please share other great resources in the comments!

In the next few weeks, I imagine many of us will be either working at our libraries without patrons or working at home because of the coronavirus. While we all have plenty of tasks to keep us busy, this may be an advantageous time to complete online professional development work. There are many great resources out there–some costly, but many free.

I’ve completed a few of the below programs, and others are on my to-do list. Send me additional recommendations in the comments below, and I will happily add them to the list. I’m currently only listing programs that may be especially of interest to youth or teen services librarians.

Free, Available Anytime


Grant Writing and Crowdfunding for Public Libraries: Learn how to read a grant application and successfully apply for a grant. Particularly useful for large grants $50,000+. Optional $50 cost to earn a verified certificate.
Also consider the entire Public Library Management certificate.
Time to Complete: 12+ hours

Librarians Guide to Homelessness: Created by Ryan Dowd, learn best practices for library staff on how to understand and better serve the homeless population. Includes tips on how to deal with and de-escalate common situations and issues and make staff feel empowered and safe. May only be available to Ohio librarians.

Mel’s Desk Professional Storytime Development: Not quite an official course like many of these other offerings, but may be the most useful in practical day-to-day storytime improvement. Practice storytime flow, create your own storytime mission statement, and make and evaluate your storytime top 40 list.

Project READY: Reimagining Equity & Access for Diverse Youth: In-depth diversity training specifically designed for youth librarians in public and school library settings. Broken down into three sections covering foundational knowledge, transforming your practice, and continuing the journey.
Time to Complete: 30+ hours (not including activity and program planning and execution)

Raising the Bar Early Literacy Training: Access early literacy storytime training by the New York Public Library including a plethora of valuable resources for early ages.
Time to Complete: 10+ hours

Serving Library Users on the Autism Spectrum: Project PALS: Learn how to better serve your patrons on the autism spectrum.
Time to Complete: 4+ hours

Sesame Strong: Access bundles of resources focusing on family engagement, particularly focusing on hosting mini-programs with parents or caregivers.
Time to Complete: 3+ hours

Supercharged Storytime: Discover ways to improve your storytimes with intentionality, interactivity, and assessment.
Time to Complete: 10+ hours

Supporting Caregiving Families: Learn about serving families of military personnel and veterans in particular with helpful vocabulary, digital resources, and hands-on activities.
Time to Complete: 3+ hours

Trauma Basics for Youth Workers: Learn the basics for practicing and implementing trauma-informed care in youth settings including what trauma is, how it impacts the brain, and how to foster interpersonal safety. Two-hour course is free with options for lengthier in-depth training at a cost (8-hours or 30-hours).
Time to Complete: 2 hours


Advancing Racial Equality in Your Library: This webinar, presented by the Race Forward Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), presents an overview of concepts and approaches libraries are using to reduce racial barriers in their work.

Conflict as Opportunity: Library Restorative Practices for Youth: Pima County (AZ) Public Library (PCPL) has radically shifted its approach toward interacting with youth in violation of the library’s Customer Code of Conduct. Using restorative justice practices, PCPL created a justice board with community partners to facilitate more mindful approaches to incidents involving youth, focusing on creating opportunities for growth and engagement rather than barriers to library access.

Countdown to Coding: Computer Science for Preschoolers: Learn ways to incorporate coding concepts into storytimes and playtimes for 3-5 year olds.

Improving the Quality of Youth Programs: Through a series of trainings and assessment tools from the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, Houston (TX) Public Library made changes to create engaging programs where youth want to be instead of have to be.

Multicultural Picture Books: A Deeper Look at Your Collection: Learn about the Diverse Book Finder tool and how to use it to help develop your collection.

Thinking Sideways: Compuational Thinking and Early Literacy: This on-demand webinar explorers components of computational thinking, what it looks like in early childhood, and how library staff use developmentally appropriate activities to support whole-child development. Young children can become successful problem-solvers, creative thinkers, and lifelong learners at the library.

Using Your Library’s Virtual Presence to Reach Users with Disabilities: Is your library working towards improving online accessibility to customers with disabilities? Have you developed new programs and services that intentionally welcome individuals with disabilities, but are struggling to connect with your target audience? Developing inclusive library services will be more effective if your library connects with the disability community, and leveraging your organization’s virtual presence will help you do that.

Additional Webinar Resources:

Toolkits, Websites, & More

Championing Children’s Services Toolkit: Encompasses a variety of easy to use advocacy resources to empower librarians to engage their communities to build healthy successful futures for children.

Getting Started with Mindfulness: A Toolkit for Early Childhood Organizations: Learn about implementing mindfulness techniques into your daily work and organizational culture, try hands-on strategies for doing so, and learn more from organizations that have begun this journey.

Ideabook: Libraries for Families: Learn about ways to engage families and promote lifelong learning.

Learning Across Boundaries: How Librarians Are Bridging Children’s Interests: Contains insights into how libraries are helping families connect children’s learning across home, school, and local settings, and what it might take to make libraries even greater community connecters.

Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth: Learn about technology practices for ages 0-14 in public libraries.

Middle Grade Magic Virtual Conference: While the conference occurred on April 8, login to view excellent presentations from many diverse authors and information about upcoming children’s books.

National Research Agenda for Library Service to Children (Ages 0-14): Current research trends, areas of further exploration, and current needs in the field that might be addressed through research.

Public Library & School Library Collaboration Toolkit: When public and school librarians and library workers engage in collaboration, community members reap the benefits. This toolkit includes context and suggestions for creating partnerships of all sizes.

Reimagining School Readiness Toolkit: Created to help librarians help families prepare children ages 0-8 for school.

Revisiting the Potential uses of Media in Children’s Education: Journalist Chris Berdik interviewed more than 20 experts from a range of fields, including developmental psychologists, educators, media historians, app developers, as well as education nonprofit leaders and funders, to understand some of the lessons that can be learned from the successes and failures of children’s educational media over the past 50 years. Together, they explore what we must do to make the most of new technologies and the changing role of families and teachers, and grapple with questions about media, learning, and educational equity.

Virtual Events

April 25-26: YALLSTAYATHOME: Features panels and speakers ranging from middle grade through young adult lit.

May 1-2: Everywhere Book Fest: A virtual gathering of kidlit authors, illustrators, and books that will bring the book festival experience to young readers everywhere.

May 27: SLJ Day of Dialogue: Learn from authors, librarians, and educators from around the globe in this first-time-virtual event.

Cost, Available Anytime

ALSC Archived Webinars: If you are an ALSC member, these one-hour educational sessions are free. If not, each webinar costs $25 to access. Many topics available from advocacy and storytime to STEAM, child care,diversity, early literacy, and more. Some webinars available to everyone for free.

Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators™ Online Course (Zero to Three): Observe, understand, and reflect on critical interactions with infants and toddlers that support and nurture their social-emotional, cognitive, and language and literacy development and learning.
Time to Complete: 13 hours
Cost: $375
Also available as separate micro-courses:
Social-Emotional Development – 6 hr, $150
Cognitive Development – 4 hr, $100
Language and Literacy Development – 3 hr, $75

Spanish for Libraries from the iSchool @ UW-Madison: Learn vocabulary, pronunciation, common phrases, and other skills as you progress through the course by watching videos, listening to recordings, and reading relevant literature. Available March 27.
Cost: $100

Cost, Scheduled

Advancing Family Engagement in Public Libraries: A PLA Professional Development Series: Learn about family engagement and update and refine your programming and spaces to encourage this practice.
Time to Complete: 8 months
Cost: $550
Next Session: March session full; Fall 2020

Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca: Learn how to successfully deliver the various elements of bilingual storytimes, either on their own or with a bilingual community partner. Participants will discover new books, rhymes, songs, plans and resources that they can immediately put to use in their bilingual storytime programs.
Time to Complete: 4 weeks
Cost: $175
Next Session: Begins May 4

Computational Thinking: Introduction to Computational Thinking for Every Educator: With support from Google, learn about computational thinking and computational thinking integrated activities that you can take back to your school or library.
Time to Complete: 15-30 hours
Cost: Free
Next Session: Summer 2020

Cultural Competence for Librarians: For the library profession, which has historically struggled with developing a workforce that is reflective of the communities being served, these changing times will require cultural competence, defined by the Association of College and Research libraries as “a congruent set of behaviors, attitudes, and policies that enable a person or group to work effectively in cross-cultural situations” (ACRL, 2012). While cultural competence has become a part of some library and information science programs, for librarians currently working in the field, cultural competence may be an enigma. This course will introduce librarians to the concept of cultural competence in the library and information science profession.
Time to Complete: 4 weeks
Cost: $175
Next Session: Begins May 4

Foundations of Early Literacy: Both using and expanding on the early literacy information in the Every Child Ready to Read® initiative, you will become familiar with the early literacy skills and practices. Building on this knowledge, we will explore ways to apply them to your work, including ways to make library environments supportive of staff sharing early literacy information and activities with parents and caregivers.
Time to Complete: 4 weeks
Cost: $175
Next Session: Begins May 4

Library Resources and Services for Patrons on the Autism Spectrum: This course will provide librarians with a better understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder, effective means of communicating individuals with ASD, strategies for designing inviting and accessible library environments and programming, and suggestions for building relationships with community partners to better serve the needs of patrons with ASD.
Time to Complete: 4 weeks
Cost: $175
Next Session: Begins May 4

Practical Library Services for Grade School Kids (Kindergarten through Second Grade): R. Lynn Baker will provide information and hands-on practice to help library staff create intentional, literacy-based programs for children in kindergarten through second grade. You’ll gain practical knowledge and skills and an understanding of how to put them to work.
Cost: $175
Next Session: Begins April 27

Virtual School Age: Coding

I’ve been part of my library’s virtual storytime team over the last month, and today, it is my turn to expand into virtual school age programming.

About three years ago, I started the Innovation Academy programming series because of a technology grant that gave us about $5000 in tech ideal for ages 8-11. The program series was popular, as anything with technology seems to be, but after a few years I grew close to burnout with tech. I was one of the only staff members interested in tech programming, and I felt obligated to keep creating it since there was a patron interest.

We had a mixed audience at every program, which made it difficult to plan. I couldn’t move on to advanced content because at least a third of every program’s attendees would have never used any kind of tech before. Another third would have come to every single tech program I had done in the last 2-3 years, and they would quite loudly complain that they had done this activity before. The other third would be some combination of the previous two, while also regularly letting me know that they had more advanced tech at home or at school. Oh, and there were also the kids who were too young to be in the room and couldn’t read (and didn’t have the patience to try to work through any kind of problem solving).

Luckily, last year, our department divided up the Innovation Academy program series, expanding its content to cover more than tech but also expanding the staff who ran the program. This gave me a much-needed technology break, and while I can’t say I am ready to jump back into monthly tech programs, I don’t mind the occasional offering, and I definitely don’t mind trying to translate that content to a new medium–online!

My library decided to approach school age programming so that:

  • Ages are expanded–all programs have materials for ages 6-11.
  • Attendees register via Evanced (our regular event registration software).
  • On the day of the event, the program presenter will email attendees a video introduction as well as a PDF with resources, content, and activities to do at home.

My first program goes live today, so I don’t know what the patron feedback will be. Four days before the event, we already have 60 sign-ups, which is fantastic! Our first school-age event from last week, virtual Young Engineers, received a great response from virtual attendees, so I’m hoping that pattern continues.


This session’s intro video is below. It is boring. I’m going to work on ways to make it more engaging–including seeing my face talking–for next time, but I was determined to get this done this week, and double storytimes meant that reading my notes instead of talking was just easier.

Participants can watch the video, or they can move straight to the packet, included below. It covers the vocabulary reviewed in the video, and also provides four pages of coding resources for all levels of coders, from beginning to advanced, including unplugged, block-based, and text-based coding activities.

Pros and Cons

Obviously this format is different than standard library programming, and there isn’t too much we can do about that. Until we have a vaccine for COVID-19, our world is going to look different. Encouraging people to gather for entertainment purposes, while mentally helpful, is simply dangerous at the moment. Speaking personally, my life, my coworker’s lives, and our patron’s lives aren’t worth creating an hour’s worth of entertainment–or learning–right now. When stay at home orders are lifted, some people will run from their homes to any open location–that doesn’t mean we are obligated to amuse them at our own personal risk. Other people will stay home and prioritize their and other people’s safety.

Everyone will make their own choices, and virtual programming allows us to reach people in a way that is safe for everyone. Unfortunately, it means we will be missing people, especially those that need our services the most. I don’t have an answer for that, but I will say that in almost all cases, in my particular library, the people who are coming into our library to attend our physical programs are not the people who don’t have Internet at home. They may make choices about screen time limits that may make it hard to attend our virtual programs–and honestly, if you are able to stick to those limits in these crazy times, good for you–but they still have access if they choose to use it.

I don’t think temporarily moving our programs virtual is preventing our regular users from accessing the library. Figuring out how to reach those folks who could never make it into the library in the first place is a bigger question, and virtual programming may actually be opening doors instead of closing them. According to Pew Research, 68% of low income families use social media (with Facebook being by far the most popular tool). While I don’t have the statistics, I will bet that 68% of our low income families don’t visit our library regularly.

Obviously, no matter how I try to spin it, there are still cons to online programs. They feel impersonal. I can’t adjust a program based on a participant’s response. I can’t lead them through a problem the same way I could in person. I can’t give them physical items to work with and explore, from robots and 3D printing pens to even simple craft materials. I don’t even know how many participants opened the files I sent or actually did any activity. People could really struggle with what I provide, or simply not like the format, and I may never know.

To end on a positive note, however, there are small good things to focus on too. So many of those reasons that I was burnt out on tech disappear here. I can provide activities and resources for all ages and abilities–from those preschoolers sneaking their way into school-age programs to the attendees that have been coding for years. I’ve got you all covered.

Online programs can promote family engagement in a way that in-library programs can promote peer-to-peer learning. Adults learn about fun ways they can connect with their kids without having to spend money on robots and 3D printing pens and craft supplies. Programs can be completed whenever is convenient for a family–as soon as an email is distributed, after work is done, over the weekend, a year from now. If the baby is super grumpy, a family doesn’t have to worry about leaving the house and arriving 30 minutes late. If a kid is really, really, really bored with Scratch, they don’t have to yell that at the top of their lungs in a room of their peers–they can just try Code Combat instead.

I want to get these kids back in our programming space–I miss them. I miss watching them grow up over the last few months, and possibly over the next year. Virtual programming provides us a bit of everything–while we don’t always get to see the kids, we still get to connect with families, share some cool learning opportunities, and connect our patrons to the ideas, interests, and passions that matter to them. Just with a little more distance between us and them.

Social Media Collection Promotion

Before social distancing days, I was a member of my library’s Marketing the Collection Committee (I suppose I still am, that sounded kind of depressing). One of my personal work goals for this year was to promote our children’s collection using social media.

A week before we closed, I posted my first few Instagram Stories sharing some of my favorite non-fiction graphic novel series (Science Comics, Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales, Maker Comics). I created a detailed spreadsheet with the books I was going to highlight every two weeks for the rest of the year, coordinating titles with library events and seasonal activities. Books started piling up at my desk, so I would have physical copies for those 15-second videos.

And then we were sent home, and priorities shifted.

Looking on the bright side of things, our closure allowed me to explore our digital content in a way I hadn’t before. Personally, I checked out ebooks regularly, but, other than when I was on vacation, I was much more likely to pick up a physical book than download an ebook, if I had a choice.

I shifted my plans–that spreadsheet went out the window, and instead, with our marketing department’s approval, I started posting one Instagram story a day focusing on a different ebook or eaudiobook (without having to film myself–it’s faster without worrying about retakes and word choice and backgrounds and technology hiccups).

My personal Instagram Story parameters are below (much of this is adapted from the instructions I was given by marketing before I started):

  • One story a day.
  • I rotate through four topics:
    • eaudibooks for families
    • ebook for ages 0-5
    • ebook for ages 6-8
    • ebook for ages 9-11
  • Mix up the time you post stories (this often ends up being afternoon or evening for me, based on when I remember)
  • Add flare. (I’m still learning how to do this.)
    • Add stickers
    • Tag authors when possible – creates some great interactions!
    • Add video when possible–I record my phone screen using the free app XRecorder to show myself scrolling through a list of favorite titles or playing a clip from a Weston Woods book video from Hoopla.
  • Try not to add too much text. (I fail at this regularly.)
  • Focus on ebook services that don’t involve long hold lists when possible–for me, this means I promote titles on Hoopla or Cloud Library more than the Overdrive library shared across my state.

I am planning to figure out Later.com by the end of the week to have these scheduled instead of having to post each day. I keep opening the website, staring at the home page, not immediately seeing how to schedule a story, and getting distracted by something else. I blame still getting used to working from home.

Some sample Instagram Stories without video:

And some sample Instagram Stories with video (that you can’t see play below, but may make more sense with that information):

This is just a small piece in my library’s overall social media plan while we are closed to the public. What is your library doing? Share your awesome ideas in the comments!

Accessing eContent from Home

My library, like so many others across the country, has closed due to growing concerns related to the coronavirus. We are planning to provide online content to our patrons in the meantime.

So many folks are collecting fantastic lists of resources–I’m including some of my personal favorites over a series of posts, starting with accessing eContent.

Library Services

One of my favorite tips (that I use year round) is to remember that if your family has multiple library cards, or if you have cards to multiple libraries, each one may offer you access to some of the same eresources–but allowing you to get more content. If you organize your accounts and cards, you may actually be able to check out 18 or 30 or 50 items on a website like Hoopla each month. This doesn’t work for everyone, but it might be able to help some families.


Hoopla is awesome because everything is available to everyone with no waiting (though you are capped on the number of items per month). I talk about Hoopla during my book talks and am a regular user, so I am fairly familiar with its great content.

Some personal favorite titles that could be good to highlight to your patrons include:

Series or Authors, Kids Chapter Books:

  • 39 Clues (audio only)
  • Amelia Fang
  • Artemis Fowl
  • Captain Underpants (audio only)
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • Diary of an 8-Bit Warrior
  • Dork Diaries (audio only)
  • Fablehaven
  • Fairy Tale Reform School
  • I Survived (audio only)
  • Isle of the Lost
  • Ivy and Bean
  • Judy Moody
  • Kingdom Keepers
  • Mercy Watson
  • Minecraft (Mark Cheverton)
  • My Weird School
  • Nikki and Deja
  • Origami Yoda
  • Percy Jackson
  • Ramona Quimby (audio only)
  • Rick Riordan
  • Rick Riordan Presents
  • School of Good and Evil
  • Serafina and the Black Cloak
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (audio only)
  • Sisters Grimm
  • Spirit Animals (audio only)
  • Stick Cat
  • Stick Dog (not all titles)
  • The Terrible Two
  • Trapped in a Video Game
  • Upside Down Magic (audio only)
  • Warriors
  • Wayside School
  • Whatever After (audio only)
  • Wings of Fire (audio only)
  • Zoey and Sassafras

Single Titles, Kids Chapter Books:

  • 50 Wacky Things Animals Do by Tricia Martineau
  • Anyone but Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp
  • AstroNuts Mission One by Jon Schieszka
  • A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting by Joe Ballarini
  • Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  • Black Panther by Ronald L. Smith
  • Bow Wow by Spencer Quinn (audio only)
  • City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab (audio only)
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman (audio only)
  • A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano
  • Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
  • From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot (audio only)
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (audio only)
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (audio only)
  • The Great Penguin Rescue by Sandra Markle
  • Great White Shark vs. Killer Whale by Thomas K. Adamson
  • Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
  • The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
  • Jinxed by Amy McCuloch
  • The New Kid by Jerry Craft (audio only)
  • Poop Detectives by Ginger Wadsworth
  • Posted by John David Anderson
  • Refugee by Alan Gratz (audio only)
  • Space Case by Stuart Gibbs (audio only)
  • Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale
  • Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo
  • Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
  • The Unteachables by Gordon Korman (audio only)
  • Wedgie & Gizmo by Suzanne Selfors (audio only)

Picture Books & Beginning Readers:

  • 5-Minute Stories (not all titles)
  • Ana & Andrew
  • Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins
  • Biscuit (all titles)
  • Charlie & Mouse by Laurel Synder
  • Clark the Shark (all titles)
  • Curious George (all titles)
  • Fancy Nancy (all titles)
  • Five Little Monkeys (all titles)
  • Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry (audio only)
  • I’m Brave! by Kate McMullan
  • Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah Hoffman
  • Mo Willems titles (audio & movie only)
  • Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
  • Mr. Putter & Tabby
  • Pete the Cat (all titles)
  • Pinkalicious (all titles)
  • Rosie Revere, Engineer
  • Scaredy Squirrel
  • Splat the Cat (all titles)
  • Unicorn Day by Diana Murray
  • Waiting by Kevin Henkes
  • We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Graphic Novels:

  • Artemis Fowl (series)
  • The Backstagers (series)
  • Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
  • Big Nate (series)
  • Dance Class (series)
  • DC Super Hero Girls (series)
  • Dear Justice League by Michael Northrop
  • Diana: Princess of the Amazons by Shannon Hale
  • Earth Before Us (series)
  • El Deafo by Cece Bell
  • Ghost Friends Forever (series)
  • Goldie Vance (series)
  • Guinea PIG, Pet Shop Private Eye (series)
  • Illegal by Eoin Colfer
  • Invisible Emmie by Terri Linenson
  • Lumberjanes (series)
  • Miles Morales (series)
  • Moonstruck (series)
  • Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales (series)
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians (series)
  • Phoebe and Her Unicorn (series)
  • Plants vs Zombies (series)
  • Poptropica (series)
  • Red’s Planet by Eddie Pittman
  • Rutabaga: The Adventure Chef (series)
  • Shadow of the Batgirl by Sarah Kuhn
  • The Sisters (series)
  • Warriors (series)

Libby (OverDrive)

OverDrive‘s content will vary depending on what your library or consortium has added to it. However, with services being used by many people at once, this might be an ideal time to highlight a special OverDrive feature–“It’s Your Lucky Day.” This provides patrons with a select number of popular titles that are immediately available. Content changes regularly, but at this moment, I could check out Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and On the Come Up without waiting.


If your library subscribes, RBdigital is an awesome resource for kids magazines, all immediately available. My favorites on this website include:

  • American Girl
  • Animal Tales
  • ChickaDEE
  • Highlights for Children (in all its ages and iterations)
  • National Geographic Kids

Beyond Library Services

As much as we want to boost our library econtent, realistically, even just over the course of three weeks, the above resources are going to dry up. A card’s 10 Hoopla checkouts can only go so far, and the best content on Overdrive will quickly have long holds.

I’m including some other suggestions for ways to access econtent for kids, for free or cheaply, below.


Subscription Services:

  • Audible (30 day free trial, 1 audio a month, $14.99/month): This service is expensive for what you get (only one audiobook a month), but it is by far the most user-friendly audiobook service that I’ve tried. Only recommended for regular audiobook listeners or for the free trial.
  • Epic! (30 day free trial, $9 a month): Immediate access to 35,000 picture books, early readers, chapter books, and learning videos. Includes popular titles like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Goosebumps, Princess in Black, Big Nate, Guinness World Records, and more.
  • Kindle Unlimited (30 day free trial, $9.99/month): Access a ton of titles from the Kindle library. While not everything is included (the collection is actually fairly limited), this can be your cheapest way to access many popular titles (that goes beyond the kid-exclusive content available at Epic!). All Harry Potter, Rick Riordan, and Big Nate books are available. While you are limited to 10 downloaded titles at a time, you are not limited to ten titles a month (like Hoopla). May be ideal for particularly voracious young readers. A great breakdown on the pros and cons here.

Book Apps:

  • Barnyard Dance! by Loud Crow (iOS) – $2.99
  • Blue Hat, Green Hat by Loud Crow (iOS) – $2.99
  • Byron Carton Collection #1 by Oceanhouse (iOS, Android) – $4.99
  • The Cat in the Hat by Oceanhouse (iOS, Android) – $2.99
  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App! by Disney (iOS) – $5.99
  • Dr. Seuss’s ABC by Oceanhouse (iOS, Android) – $2.99
  • Even Monsters Get Sick by Busy Bee Studios (iOS) – $0.99
  • Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Oceanhouse (iOS, Android) – $2.99
  • The Going to Bed Book by Loud Crow (iOS) – $2.99
  • Goodnight Construction Site by Oceanhouse (iOS, Android) – $3.99
  • Goodnight Moon by Loud Crow (iOS) – $4.99
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Oceanhouse (iOS, Android) – $2.99
  • The Monster at the End… by Sesame Street (iOS) – $4.99
  • Moo, Baa, La La La! by Loud Crow (iOS) – $2.99
  • One Fish Two Fish – Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse (iOS, Android) – $2.99

What other e-resources do you know about to help your patrons access ebooks and the like while stuck at home? Mention them in the comments and I’ll add them to the list above!