Boca libraries going virtual? Yes. It’s happening. Slowly but steadily. You can still take out a real book and carry it home, or you can take out several books electronically and leave without carrying any extra weight.
When was the last time you visited a library? For most of us, the answer is far too distant to recall. And yet, did you know that there are an estimated 119,487 libraries in the United States?
That’s according to the American Library Association. Thankfully and surprisingly, as of 2013, there were still more library locations than McDonald’s locations in the United States*. (But far more people eat burgers than check out books).
Facts About Our Area Libraries
Did you know that Palm Beach County has 16 branch libraries not including the main library, a Bookmobile and Outreach Services? Click here for branch locations.
Our libraries have gone digital and just as you can purchase on-line books and movies, the public library is offering ‘e’ Books to Palm Beach County residents for FREE. Best of all, once you have a valid library card with Palm Beach County, you don’t have to step into a physical library location.
However, if you still long for the adventure of browsing through bookshelves and actually holding something that doesn’t beep or ding when you turn the pages, there are still real books available.
Brief Overview of eBook Apps
As long as you have a valid Palm Beach County Library card, you can access any of the following formats for eBooks.
OverDrive currently contains over 13,500 titles. OverDrive offers eBooks in EPUB, PDF, Blio and Kindle formats. The beauty of this particular Digital Media Collection is the variety of devices that can use OverDrive. As long as you have Internet (and a valid PBC library card) you can access the eLibrary that includes audiobooks as well. Best of all they automatically expire so there are never any late fees.
Axis360 is specifically designed for eBooks for Windows and Android or iOS smartphones and tablets.
Hoopla offers eBooks all the time. It is similar to Netflix in that Hoopla streams content. There are currently over 8,000 movies and television shows, 10,000 audiobooks and 115,000 music albums. Content is constantly being updated.
NetLibrary offers access to more than 4,000 public domain titles including classics in literature, history, political and information technology.
Gale Virtual Library offers a large variety of reference books.
An additional caveat and clarification is required.
There are two additional libraries in the City of Boca Raton that also have eBook capabilities. The Downton Library located at 400 NW 2nd Ave and the Spanish River Library located at 1501 NW Spanish River Blvd. If you live within the City of Boca Raton limits, click here for a current map of the City of Boca Raton, these libraries are free to you as well—a separate Boca Raton Library card will be required, different from the Palm Beach County Library Card. For those of us living in unincorporated Boca Raton, we can use the City Libraries but for a fee. Click here for City of Boca Raton library fees for non residents.
Delray Beach also has a library located downtown off of Atlantic Avenue. There is no fee for full time Palm Beach County Residents, but a separate library card is required. Click here for Delray Beach Public Library card information.
The next time you go to pay for an eBook, consider using your library card instead. That way you can download an eBook or stream a movie for FREE. Please stop and say hello if you run into me at the library.
*According to YesMagazine.org
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