Ray Saitz: Explore Peterborough Public Library’s amazing online resources

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I have always loved visiting a library. It all started when I was young and my teacher would take the whole class to the library every two weeks to get another book. I read all the novels by Enid Blyton and the Hardy Boys and later the James Bond thrillers by Ian Fleming. With great luck, I was able to spend 17 years of my teaching career as a high school teacher/librarian.

However, my reading habits have now shifted to a more technological method and I use an iPad to read e-books and subscribe to online news. I can read anywhere in any light conditions, it can hold hundreds of books, magazines and newspapers, I can easily enlarge text to a comfortable size and it’s perfect for traveling .

So, I was thrilled during the closings to discover that the Peterborough Public Library website (https://www.ptbolibrary.ca) is the portal to a treasure trove of not just downloadable e-books, online magazines and newspapers, as well as music and movies, which you can explore on your tablet, computer, or streaming device. All you need to access everything is a free library card.

You sign in using your library card number and the last four digits of your phone number. If you don’t have a library card, you can get one online by clicking or tapping the link under “membership” on the library’s website to start the application process.

To begin your exploration of digital resources, tap Browse on the library homepage. I suggest you start with books and audiobooks and browse through the selections. Audiobook Cloud is a collection of over 1,000 audiobooks while Hoopla is made up of books, movies, magazines, and TV shows. Hoopla has a download limit of five per month, but is available as a free app for iPad, iPhone, Android devices, and any streaming device such as a Roku so you can watch the videos on your TV.

My favorite e-book service is CloudLibrary, which offers thousands of popular and famous books, each with a three-week borrowing period. You can search for a book or browse featured lists that include nominees for Canada Reads, the Giller Prize, Governor General’s Awards, and more. There’s a CloudLibrary app for mobile devices that’s easy to set up and will let you read an ebook on your tablet in your favorite chair or borrow a book while you’re on vacation.

Next to each online service on the library’s website, there is an overview box and one called Getting Started which explains how to create a free account if needed and use the resource.

In the Movies, TV, and Music section of Browse, you absolutely must try Qello. It’s a huge repository of live video gigs by just about every artist in every genre. Qello is available as an app for mobile devices and Windows computers, but there is also a Roku app. For example, you can watch a free high-definition 1976 Led Zeppelin concert on your big-screen TV.

Under Newspapers, you can use the Pressreader app for mobile and Windows devices to access current replicas of up to 7,000 of the world’s top newspapers and magazines, including the Peterborough Examiner, Toronto Star, Walrus, Canadian Geographic, Newsweek and Vogue. A replica version is a reproduction of the actual publication that you browse by turning the pages. Click the Getting Started box for full instructions on setting up Pressreader.

The free subscription to Pressreader is for one month and Qello for one week. You can easily renew each of them by logging into each service through the Library website.

To the far right of the Browse section there is a box titled Peterborough Library Learning Portal which will transport you to a virtual classroom where you can learn all about computer basics, social media , streaming, Google and more.

With a free library card, tablet or computer and enough time, you can take advantage of Peterborough Library’s fantastic resources and become well-read, informed, entertained and educated.

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