It hasn’t been too long since the original post, and we have been working on adding more resources ever since. However, the original recommendations now have to be modified, as Rutgers University Libraries have announced that
Effective Sunday, March 22, in order to provide library access to students while protecting the health and best interests of our staff, students, and faculty, a limited number of libraries will be open to serve as study hall space and for OIT lab access. The Libraries’ physical resources (books, microfilm, etc.) will be unavailable.
For the most current status, please visit the
We stand by our promise to help you channel some of the anxiety away from the latest news or panic on social media to library resources – but from now on, online only. See our latest posts, including a collection of classics in ebook or audiobook format, a post on public health documentaries and how to find online movies at Rutgers, ebooks on the same topic from the catalog, and the first in-depth analysis of a classic relevant to the current situation.
Out of our previously recommended three options, these two are still available:
1. Ebooks for the tech-savvy
Use QuickSearch on the RUL home page to find an electronic book. For more guidance and tips, see this guide. You will be pleasantly surprised by the selection of titles RUL has to offer!
For more free and easy-to-access reading options, the Internet Archive has a large collection of digitized books. Did you know that, with a free account, you can actually “borrow” books from the Internet Archive rather than download them?
2. Audiobooks for those who like to multitask
Although RUL don’t have audiobooks, there are many free options to find and listen to a favorite book in addition to your local public library. The Internet Archive hosts millions of recordings — Harry Potter, anyone? Read by Stephen Fry (British) or Jim Dale (American)? Many of the titles in the public domain have been recorded by volunteers from LibriVox. See more free options.
3. NEW: Try your public library! It’s a great source!
Do you have a library card for your public library? It entitles you to use the library’s electronic resources off site! You will be surprised by the abundance of materials available online for you and FOR YOUR KIDS, if you are homeschooling them right now.
In addition to checking out the local library’s web site and catalog, you may experiment with some larger providers. You never know what system your library prefers, such as 3M Cloud Library and OverDrive Media Console. You may want to try the Libby ebook collection, too.
We strongly advise against clicking on random sites that offer ebooks or audiobooks to download (or letting your teen do so). Just like when downloading music and video from untrusted and unknown sources, it is not only illegal, but many of these sites pose a potential danger: viruses different from COVID-19, but just as vicious.
When in doubt, go to the library – virtually
A few more ideas are available from recent posts, such as
- How to get free e-books from your public library
- A browser extension that shows free Amazon books through your library
- E-freebies from the NYPL (NY residents only)
Stay tuned for more offered by our two forthcoming projects:
- RUGRAT – Rutgers University Groups Reading Alone Together
- SEBS Virtual Little Free Library