If your idea of the public library is the antiquated knowledge repository of yore, then you probably haven’t been paying attention. But all the COVID-19-induced isolation at home has given us the time to discover—or rediscover—some pretty stellar resources available at the Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD), all through the magic of your library card.
As PPLD’s local library branches have evolved with state and local safety precautions—from closed to curbside service to moving toward a phased physical reopening (complete details here)—during the pandemic, there have been a wide variety of digital services to keep cardholders entertained, active and aware.
“In the early days of the pandemic, we realized that we were going to have to quickly pivot our services in order to ensure people in the Pikes Peak region could still access their library resources, even if the physical collection wasn’t an option,” says Kayah Swanson, director of public relations and marketing for PPLD.
That means community classes, a Netflix-like film repository and language software, to name a few, are at the touch of your fingertips. Swanson gave us the lowdown on how to make the most of your library card, including new services being offered in the wake of COVID-19.
Virtual Classes and Groups
Classes and skill-building programs can be found in almost every corner of the digital services offered at the PPLD. But most notably, your library card gives you access to Lynda.com. Lynda is a learning service from LinkedIn that allows you to build professional skills ranging from Excel to Adobe Photoshop in a matter of days. Lynda is great to brush up on digital tools or learn new ones to help you fake it till you make it in a new job or career. Need to learn Python programming in a pinch? Lynda is here to help. Having trouble keeping on task as you work from home? Lynda even has a comprehensive course on time management tips.
PPLD has also expanded regular in-person classes to an online format. You can take advantage of mindful movement and meditation classes offered on Wednesdays; free yoga classes on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays; and, yes, even a virtual cat café on Saturdays aptly titled “caturday with cats.”
Seriously, you might just want to ditch Netflix. Kanopy is an online library system that houses award-winning films that are free with your library card. You can find full-length Oscar nominees, such as Lady Bird, Moonlight, Room, and I Am Not Your Negro. Kanopy has a detailed menu that helps you navigate films on almost every subject. The broad menu spans everything from Health, Engineering, Immigration to award-winning and groundbreaking Documentaries and LGBTQ stories. There’s an impressive Recommended For You column. And if you have kiddos, Kanopy Kids provides a treasure trove of content, including favorites such as Cinderella, Arthur, Sesame Street and animated story books. Even better, there is unlimited streaming for children’s titles. Your PPLD card gives you 10 films per month from the regular Kanopy library, with three days to watch each title—plenty for Friday night documentary dates.
Want to learn a new language? Try out Mango. Learning is broken up into bite sized chapters and chunks. Conversation-based methodology, pronunciation practice and pattern recognition tools help you learn quickly and efficiently. There are over 70 language courses, including Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian—even an option to learn Pirate. For an extra twist, try Mango Premiere: a film library that generates titles in the language of your choice, so you can supplement your viewing time with some language learning too.
Overdrive and Libby
The Pikes Peak digital library runs deep with almost every type of title to fit your fancy. New York Times Bestsellers, comic books, music, movies and audiobooks are ready to be checked out digitally and efficiently through the PPLD Overdrive: one of the many PPLD library databases. You can check out 10 books at a time and place up to 30 books on hold for 14 days each. If a title is popular, you may be put on a waitlist until it becomes digitally available.
For even more convenience, download Libby, a library resources app. Once you sign in on the app, PPLD Overdrive titles will be made available on your smartphone or tablet with an option to freely download titles to Kindle. Libby will even help walk you through getting a library card.
Some popular digital titles available to borrow now include The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Talking to Strangers by Malcom Gladwell, and Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow.
Another similar library collection available through your library card is Hoopla. Here you can similarly reserve up to 10 ebooks, audiobooks, movies, TV shows, comics and more for 21 days, or three days for movies. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur and Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad are some of the hot titles available now.
Research Tools and Databases
If you’re looking to learn about anything, check out PPLD’s research databases. The Pikes Peak Newsfinder allows you to search articles from the Pikes Peak region dating back to 1873. PPLD also gives you access to JobNow, a program that helps you build a resumé and interact with a live interview coach. Additionally, there is a lengthy online Law Collection and many business guides, including COVID-19 Emergency Aid and Resources and Resources for Entrepreneurs.
Yes. You can definitely still get hard-copy books at the library. All Pikes Peak district locations are now offering curbside pickup and drop-off options. Search and reserve books through the online catalogue or PPLD mobile app. Details regarding specific pickup and drop-off schedules vary by location. A walk-up “Curbside Curation” is also being piloted at the Penrose Library, where patrons can browse books and ask librarians questions in a safe outdoor environment.
Get Your Library Card
Applying for your library card is easy. You can create your account online; then you have 90 days to go to a library branch and provide proof of address. In the meantime, you can access everything through your PPLD card number and PIN. If registering online is an issue, PPLD is also offering curbside card registration.