The libraries are closed, but you can still get access to a ton of resources. Here’s how.

Guest Post: Veteran journalist Janet Dagley has written for the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, Dayton Daily News, and was also an independent radio producer and blogger. She lost the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing both times she was up for it. This is her first piece for Cactus Hugs.

All the libraries are closed. But at this moment, hubby and I are enjoying their resources, in an even better way than if we could visit them in person.

In one end of our vast 1,500-square-foot home and pandemic hideaway, he’s watching a Great Courses video class, free, courtesy of the Rancho Mirage Public Library. All he had to do was sign into the Kanopy app with his library card, and then select from a plethora of choices.

In the other, I just finished perusing The New York Times, free, including the mini-crossword, thanks to the Palm Springs Public Library.

I’ve read several ebooks lately from each of those libraries, using the Libby app, and there are also audiobooks and more than enough movies and TV series to last until whenever this thing ends, even if that takes months and months. There are also magazines and music available. I can do research into genealogy, science, public resources, and if there were schoolchildren in our home, they could get help with their homework. It’s also possible to email a librarian, although it may take a couple of days for a response, since they’re stuck at home, too.

The Riverside County Library System (Cabazon, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Thousand Palms, Idyllwild, Indio, La Quinta, Mecca, Palm Desert) also has lots of resources, especially for children, including ABCmouse, Adventure Academy and Reading IQ.

If you didn’t have a library card before the #stayathome order, not a problem. The Palm Springs Public Library, Rancho Mirage Public Library and the Riverside County Public Library system (36 locations, including Cabazon, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Thousand Palms, Idyllwild, Indio, La Quinta, Mecca, and Palm Desert in the Coachella Valley) all now offer online signup for virtual cards valid for at least 90 days. These free cards are your key to unlock a vast treasure trove of ebooks, magazines, newspapers, movies, TV series, music, educational resources and more.
And you don’t even need a card to access story time for children: librarians have begun streaming those on Facebook live. Follow your local library there for details.
While you do need to provide evidence that you live in the county to get a Riverside County library card, you can sign up for a Palm Springs or Rancho Mirage library card even if you don’t live there. I have all three cards myself, which comes in handy because each library has different books and other resources available.
I just chatted with a Riverside County Library staffer via the website, and learned that resources, including homework help, are available in both English and Spanish. While librarians aren’t working round the clock, you can email a librarian anytime and access most resources 24/7. You can even renew an expired library card.
Riverside County Library System
Palm Springs Public Library
Rancho Mirage Public Library
Beyond our local libraries, even more resources have been made available. The children’s educational site is now offering a 30-day free trial with more than 9,000 activities, books and more for ages 2-8. ABCmouse is also available free through some local libraries.
Celebrities, including Oprah, Betty White and the desert’s own Lily Tomlin, are pitching in to read children’s stories online, thanks to the SAG/AFTRA union’s Storyline project.
Globally, the Internet Archive has just activated a “National Emergency Library” and made available 1.4 million books without a waitlist. Add that to the 2.5 million public domain books already available there and you have access to nearly 4 million books.
Internet Archive
Rosetta Stone, the language learning program, is now offering 3 month free to students.
For advanced science students, Caltech has one of the most-read publications in the field, the Feynman Lectures on Physics, also available free.
So there’s no excuse to be bored while stuck at home. And if you know of resources we haven’t listed, tell us about them.
If you’re using a public library resource we haven’t mentioned here, tell us about it.

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