Two Substitutes for the Public Library During Lockdown

Now & Ben|Gene Barretta

We miss being able to go to the public library soooo much! Founding Father Ben Franklin, is surely up in heaven commiserating with all of us missing out on his invention, part of his amazing legacy.

Here are two substitutes we are using until we can get there again. One of my friends says the library is opening in her state soon but I don’t see any opening on the horizon here yet.

  1. Libby
Libby, by OverDrive on the App Store

image credit: app store


Libby is an app you can get to access digital books from your public library. Even when we regularly went to the public library in person, my daughter would use this. She had to teach me how to use it, LOL! This post explains all about it. So far I’ve found a bunch of picture books to read aloud, but not nearly as many as the public library has in real, hard copy, print books. You can’t expect to find a copy through Libby of every hard copy book the library has. Still, it’s an awesome resource! Yay for being able to still check out books in some form, albeit only digital, from the public library! Digital has its advantages. They can’t get torn, spilled on, or lost, right?

Here’s a sampling of what we have found though Libby (all book cover images below come from



The Day the Crayons Came Home

and lots of oldies but goodies like Corduroy, the Encyclopedia Brown series, the Little House series, Chronicles of Narnia, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and Half Magic, for example. It has a ton new books too!

2. Scribd is a collection of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, newspapers, podcasts, documents, and sheet music. It has a TON more than Libby. It’s also much better than Audible, because you have unlimited access to all those resources for a low flat monthly fee, around $10. I have Audible too and love them both! Audible sometimes has books scribd doesn’t, although it’s rare. Just like Audible, it has a website with an accompanying app so you can access the books on the go on your mobile device. I can’t tell you how incredibly fabulous it is to have in audio format all the Little House books, and Anne books, and so many other books, like the ones below, all on my phone to access whenever I want!

Here are some books I have found in


Marilla of Green Gables: A Novel



Those are just some of the many, many book for adults. It has tons of fiction and nonfiction, including self-help books, like Dave Ramsey’s.

Now, here are some I’ve found for the kiddos:

Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in World War II Denmark

The Hero and the Crown by [Robin McKinley]

The one above is in audio. You can find a lot of books both as ebooks and audiobooks,

Wings of Fire

My ten year old is really getting into these books right now, as audiobooks. The whole series is in scribd in both formats..

Lunch Money

All of Andrew Clements’ books are there. I’m finding some fun picture book autobiographies like the ones below:

Now & Ben|Gene Barretta

John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J. R. R. Tolkien

Like the ones above, about Ben Franklin and J.R.R. Tolkien, or the ones below about Jacques Cousteau and Emily Dickinson.

Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau



Scribd has lots of picture books by one of my favorite authors, Amy Krouse Rosenthal.


I Scream! Ice Cream!: A Book of Wordles

Little Pea


And lots of other fun books:

Everything & Everywhere


When Pigasso Met Mootisse

Plus some religious books too:

The Action Bible Easter Story


You can buy these all in amazon of course during this lockdown, but if you are like me, you don’t have the shelf space to store every book your huge literary appetite craves. Or…you can read them all for free by signing up for a free two month trial of over here, using my affiliate link.

After all as Francis Bacon wrote:

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few are to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”

I’m sure he would agree that some are to borrowed, as hard copies, from the library, some are meant to be read through an app, and some are meant to be bought and kept forever as books you can grab off your physical bookshelf whenever you want.

Disclosure: if you sign up for scribd after your trial is over, and start subscribing with the monthly fee, I get a free month. You pay the same whether you sign up through my link or sign up another way. It’s a win/win!




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4 Responses to Two Substitutes for the Public Library During Lockdown

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