If you live in King County, Washington, you have access to one of the best public library systems in the entire country! And it’s all free of charge. Here’s an overview of the services they offer, with links for more information on how to access resources during pandemic closures.
To get started: If you don’t already have a library card, go to https://kcls.org/library-cards/ to get one.
On their website at https://kcls.org, you can search for any book you want. The results will look something like this:
You can choose a physical book (and sometimes a book with a CD of the book read aloud), an ebook that you can read on a browser, or download to a device, or a downloadable audiobook.
If you choose an ebook or audiobook, and a copy is available now, you can download it right away. (Learn more about downloading e-books.) If a copy is not currently available, put it on hold, and you’ll get notified as soon as one is available for download.
If you want a physical book, then place a hold. You’ll then choose a library branch to have it delivered to for curbside pick-up. There are lots of locations all over King County.
When your book arrives, you’ll get an email and can schedule a pickup using an app, or just go to the library during open hours. All pick-ups are contactless curbside pickups, so if you’ve scheduled your pickup, you walk up, find your bag on the table and walk away. If you haven’t scheduled one, typically you hold up your library card at a window so the librarians can see it and they fetch the bag for you.
Once you’ve checked out a book, you have it for 28 days. If you want it for longer, you can renew online, unless someone else has placed a hold on that book.
If you’re not sure what book you want, just request a surprise bag, and they’ll gather five fun books for you: https://kcls.org/faqs/how-do-i-get-a-surprise-bag-of-book-titles/
KCLS has books available in over 20 languages. You can do an advanced search that limits your results to books in that language. Learn more at: https://kcls.org/world-languages
Online Resources available through KCLS
There are several libraries of online children’s e-books. We can access Libby, Hoopla, Tumble Book Library and BookFlix for free through our library Learn more at: https://kcls.org/resources-types/ebooks-format/).
Libby has ebooks and downloadable audiobooks. Hoopla has movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics and TV shows to stream or download for free. Tumble Book Library has video storybooks and read-alongs for readers in grades K-6, including some in Spanish and French. Bookflix is for preschool to 3rd grade and has classic video storybooks paired with non-fiction eBooks.
For more information on where to find book recommendations and how to preview books on YouTube and through online reviews, check out https://gooddayswithkids.com/2020/09/29/choosing-books-for-your-child/.