Your company just suggested you work from home and your school district just closed because of Coronavirus. Now, everyone is home and you are trying to figure out what to do.
I posted this blog on our personal website two years ago while our family was traveling around the world for a year. Given many parents and adults are now stuck at home, I thought I would update and repost. At the bottom, I have added links for curriculum ideas if you need to home school your children as your school figures out its game plan.
Library Books & Audio books
While on the road, we used Overdrive which allowed us to download ebooks to our Kindle and audiobooks to our iPad. Libby is the companion ap that can be downloaded to your iPad/iPhone. Now at home, we still regularly use it. I tried Overdrive several years ago and found it clunky, but it has improved. The Libby ap is even easier. It is still not as easy as buying something on Amazon and does requires several steps to get a book on your device. However, once you become familiar with the site, it only takes a minute or two and is worth the time.
Here’s how it works:
Get a library number and PIN.
That’s right, you need a PIN. Unfortunately if your library is closed and you don’t have the PIN, this will not work. Because each library has a different selection of books, I recommend getting library cards from multiple library systems. We visited 8 around the San Francisco Bay Area before our trip.
Log into Overdrive
Start searching for books. If the book is available, you go through several steps to move it to your device. If using Amazon Kindle, it will prompt you to log into Amazon and select the desired Kindle. If the book is checked out, you can always place it on Hold and you will be sent an email when available.
Sync up your Kindle.
Turn on your Kindle’s WiFi then sync up your new book(s) through your Amazon.com account.
Here are a few tips we learned over the course of a year on the road.
- In many cases you are allowed to check out books for 21 days. If you feel you need more time, just put your Kindle into Airplane mode. The book will stay on the Kindle past 21 days until you turn your WiFi back on.
- If outside the United States, get a VPN (Virtual Private Network). We used Nord but there are a variety out there. When you are logged into Overdrive, it brings up libraries close to your location (as determined by your IP address). We often had difficulties getting books when in other countries because it recognized we were not in the US. So, I would turn on my VPN and set it to a US location and all worked fine. While it may sound intimidating, they are surprisingly easy to use.
- Popular books may be difficult to get so I would often put myself on the waiting list (or Hold) at multiple libraries.
- You can log in using your Overdrive account username/password or your library number/pin. I recommend always logging in using your Overdrive account as it is easier to move back and forth between libraries and search throughout the entire system versus one library.