Your guide to taking a trip to the (virtual) library!

Parenting Today Presented by the Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning

As your kids prepare for the new school year, encourage them to develop their love of reading by adding a virtual library card to their school toolbox. With access to your local library’s online collection, your kids can learn to explore new genres and authors independently, and shift their love of screens to that of digital reading. Here’s everything you need to know about virtual library cards and access to the millions of titles available at your fingertips!

What are virtual library cards?

In a world where so much is digital, so can your library experience! If you can’t make it to the local library or just want to browse at home, a virtual library card gives you digital access to much of your local public library’s offerings. Thanks to e-books and audiobooks, libraries can share their collections with customers online. If you already have a library card, you’re good to go! Virtual library cards also allow users to discover documents in more accessible formats – you can zoom in on small illustrations, change the font size, turn on reading mode, and more. Virtual library cards are also a great way to encourage your children to keep reading during school. breaks and weekends. They’ll feel like it’s “screen time” as they cultivate their love of reading! By easily seeing the titles and covers of many articles, your kids are sure to find new content that interests them in no time.

How to choose and use an application?

The most important factor that will determine which digital library service you download is the offering of your local library. Some libraries have partnered with multiple platforms, making it easy to choose your family’s favorite app for browsing. Other libraries only offer their collections on one platform, so be sure to research which app your system prefers.

After downloading one of these popular apps, you’ll enter your family’s library card information, so make sure you have cards for everyone in your house (even the little ones!). Typically, each library card attached to a digital platform can view multiple items at once, so having a card for your little one means you can enjoy multiple books suited to their level of development without sacrificing graphic novels. of your teenager.

Your library app will automatically return selections on their due dates, and it’s easy to renew titles for a longer loan period if you want more time. Putting items on hold is also easy in most apps, so you don’t have to worry about remembering what you want to read next!

If you’re ready to try a virtual library experience, here are three of the most popular apps.


A remarkable feature of HooplaDigital is its desktop / web browser compatibility. While other services only offer apps, Hoopla can be used from an app or a web browser. This makes it easy for your kids to read books on the family computer if they don’t have their own tablet or device; you can also download items for offline reading. The Hoopla interface is easy to use and you can choose whether or not to save your borrowing history so that the app can offer suggestions for future items, a great feature to help kids find unexplored works to enjoy. ! The navigation feature is useful for browsing a specific genre or age range, while the keyword search is available for those who know their favorite title or author.


Libby is a popular app choice among libraries. Using the OverDrive service, Libby offers a huge range of items from your local library’s collection. With the ability to sync with your Kindle device, you can let your kids read and download playlists for offline learning at home or on vacation. Libby also easily syncs your bookmarks and lists across all devices, so you don’t have to worry about everyone switching tablets / phones / devices as needed. Other popular features include a built-in sleep timer and the ability to search the text for particular words and phrases. Libby is available for Android and Apple products but not for web browsing.

Loan box

Available to Apple, Android, and Kindle users, BorrowBox is a fast growing option for public libraries looking to make their collections available online. Aiming to provide a quality user experience, BorrowBox allows you to interact with your loaned documents more than other platforms. You can highlight and save key passages, bookmark items, change the font size and style, and more. Searching for new titles is also intuitive through BorrowBox, so customers who aren’t looking for a particular item might be more successful with this app than others.

Whether you’ve returned to your local library in person or not, using a virtual library card to enjoy a full collection of audiobooks and e-books is a great way to encourage your children to continue cultivating their love. reading in the comfort of their own home. .

Parenting Today is presented by the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) of the Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning. The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) serves children ages 0 to 12 with over 200 providers across the city. Learn more: [email protected] or call (206) 386-1050.

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