Our metro libraries have gone high-tech, offering eBooks and magazines, even MP3’s of your favorite audiobooks, all for free. All you need is active library account, an Internet connection, and an Internet-enabled device.
1. Zinio free magazine app. Zinio gives you access to 97 magazines, and you can check out as many as you want, for as long as you want, FOR FREE.
With Zinio, you need to set up two separate log-in accounts: a library/Zinio account to browse the magazine collection, and a Zinio.com account to actually read the magazine on your electronic device. What’s available for check out? Magazines such as Rolling Stone, Newsweek, Martha Stewart Living, and my favorite, US Weekly.
Zinio works for PC or Mac computers, IPhones, IPads, Android, Kindle Fire, and Blackberry Playbook. I found the best instructions on how to get Zinio at the St. Paul Library’s website, sppl.org. They have an instructional video, as well as an instruction manual from Zinio you can download.
Zinio free magazines are available through the Ramsey County libraries, the Dakota County libraries, the Fairbault public library, and the Austin public library websites.
2. eBooks from OverDrive. In a combined effort from your local library and OverDrive, you can check out over 5,000 eBooks, both fiction and nonfiction, including titles like Game of Thrones, The Help, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
You can check out up to 10 titles at a time, and then choose how long you’d like to keep them – 7, 14, or 21 days. Then the books are automatically transferred back to the library. That means no overdue fees!
OverDrive works on PC’s and Mac’s, IPhones, IPads, Androids, Blackberries, and a variety of eReaders like Barnes and Noble’s Nook. For a complete list of devices, and to help with any technical issues, log on to OverDrive.com. And to download the program you need to read the eBook on your device, log on to your local library’s website.
OverDrive eBooks are available through the Ramsey, Hennepin, Dakota, Washington, and Anoka County Libraries websites.
3. Audio eBooks from OneClickdigital. This idea is perfect for folks with IPods, IPhones and Androids… and without time to actually read a book. Instead, you can download the MP3 of an audiobook, and listen to it while you go about your business. With thousands of books to hear, fiction and nonfiction, you’re bound to find something that’s music to your ears.
OneClickdigital is available through the big five metro county libraries websites. Most of the libraries will allow you to checkout up to 10 titles at a time, and keep them for up to 21 days. Ramsey County will even let you renew a title for an additional 7 days. And just like with an eBook, the audiobook automatically returns to the library, so no overdue fees.
Caveat: You do need to live in the county where you access these downloads. For example, I couldn’t use Hennepin County’s OverDrive system, because I live in Ramsey County. I would have to use Ramsey County’s site and materials.