For Educators: Use Your Library Card To Facilitate Learning Online

A guest post by Beverly Gill, Reference Librarian

If you need some ideas for resources to use for teaching your classes online, look no further. The BPL has a variety of eBooks and databases that you and your students can use from home.

To access these resources you need a library card or eCard (if you need one, sign up online). You may also need your PIN, or to set up a new account with the service (like OverDrive) to access these resources.

You can find our online resources here by category, or alphabetically here. Keep in mind that some BPL resources might be a better fit for specific assignments than others.

Assignment: Class is researching for a project

Our academic databases are a great choice if you want your students to research a subject, for example History or English. If you don’t know which databases to use, you can browse ours by subject here. One often overlooked subject is Reference – even though the library is closed right now, your students can still use reference materials from home. A small number of our databases must be used at the library, and those will be labeled with a note underneath the title.

Suggestions for advanced classes:

JSTOR and Gale Academic OneFile – Both of these databases support multiple subjects and have full text articles.

Assignment: Entire class needs to read the same book

For something like this, we would recommend Hoopla or RBDigital because they don't have hold lists, meaning you don't have to place a hold on a title and wait for a copy to become available. Here's a breakdown of what each of these resources offers:

Hoopla – Users get 10 checkouts per calendar month (raised to 12 while the library is closed for COVID-19) with no hold lists, so your students can all check out the same book. Find video tutorials on using it here.

RBDigital – This resource has just eAudiobooks, most of which do not have hold lists (note: new titles may have hold lists). Users get 6 eAudiobook checkouts at a time. Find video tutorials on using it here.

Assignment: Class needs to read different books individually

In addition to the resources named above, you can use two other resources: Overdrive and LEA. These both allow users to check out eBooks and eAudiobooks, but titles are subject to a hold list.Overdrive – Overdrive has eBooks and eAudiobooks, with limited copies available, which means there can be wait lists. Users can check out up to 10 items at a time. Find video tutorials on using it here.

LEA – This stands for “Library eBooks and Audiobooks,” and it means your BPL library card works at many other public library Overdrive websites in Massachusetts. To access these other libraries from the BPL’s Overdrive website, you will see a link for “Partner libraries” at the top of the page. In the Libby app, you can add these libraries and sign in as “visiting from another library.”

We also have some additional resources available with no library card required!

Research Guides are created by librarians on a variety of subjects to help with research.

Internet Archive is a website we contribute to with free digitized books and primary sources, most of them in the public domain.

Digital Commonwealth is a website with digitized materials from institutions in Massachusetts, including the BPL. It is great for images and prints.

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Boston Public Library