How to use your library card as a ‘digital passport’

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Stream TV shows, take digital classes and much more through Spokane County Library

There was a time when the sole purpose of a library card was for checking out books at a specific location bound by four walls. Today, a library card is a digital passport allowing holders to stream “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” for a child, take a creative writing class, evaluate consumer feedback of the latest laptops, unlock research into your ancestry, get personalized help with homework or a job search — and so much more. Of course, a library card can also do the expected: check out audio and digital books onto a personal device.

The better question might be what a library card can’t do. Through the Spokane County Library District, there are more than 50 free digital subscriptions cardholders can benefit from — conveniently, wherever they happen to be.

Take the above list as an example:

1) Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is on Hoopla, a service that allows library patrons to check out and stream popular movies, TV shows, music and audiobooks.

2) “Creative writing” is one of hundreds of online courses available to card holders through Gale and Lynda.com — or learn a new language through Pronunciator.

3) Access up-to-date consumer info on literally thousands of products digitally through Consumer Reports.

4) Interested in genealogy, check out thousands of records through Heritage Quest or Ancestry services.

5) Great student support resources like Tutor.com are available alongside online resources like JobNow, which connects library patrons with live coaches for help with resumes, cover letters and interviews.

6) Just want a great book delivered digitally? OverDrive provides access to thousands of popular titles, and other apps provide access to the latest magazines and newspapers.

“Users love the convenience of these digital options,” Library District Communication and Development Director Jane Baker said. “And there’s no worry of overdue fees with the electronic items, as they simply return themselves when due by disappearing from your device.”

With locations including Spokane Valley, The BookEnd (at Spokane Valley Mall), Otis Orchards and Argonne among its 11 branches, the Spokane County Library District is the primary library for residents of unincorporated Liberty Lake. However, through a cooperative agreement with the Liberty Lake Municipal Library, Liberty Lake residents inside and outside of city limits can get a library card from both the Library District and Municipal Library. Some digital services are only available through your home library, so ask a librarian with any questions getting set up.

NOTE: A version of this article first appeared in the 2019 Liberty Lake Yearbook.

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