The Library to the Rescue!

The Library to the Rescue!
By: Porter County Public Library System Last Updated: April 10, 2020

Porter County Public Library System Dramatically Expands Digital Resources

As the community responds to statewide orders to remain at home due to COVID-19, the Porter County Public Library System has expanded beyond its doors with an explosion of digital materials for homebound scholars, families and small businesses. “We are adding digital items fast and furious,” said Jesse Butz, director of the PCPLS. “We have added nearly a million digital titles – well more than doubling our digital offerings in less than one month. Plus, we continue to add new content every week, focusing on options that can assist our community in this time of need,” he said.

The PCPLS has also added an online option enabling residents without a library card to receive a virtual card, empowering them with immediate access. Here is an overview of new services and what you’ll find in your online library:

  • Hoopla – a FREE streaming service for audiobooks, music, TV shows, video and ebooks, available on smartphone, tablet, computer, or smart TV.
  • Kanopy – a FREE service that includes movies, documentaries, foreign films, classic cinema, independent films and educational videos that inspire, enrich, and entertain, also available on smartphone, tablet, computer, or smart TV.
  • RBDigital – this digital service has been available at the PCPLS for years, but has been expanded to offer dramatically more titles:
    • eMagazines -- expanding from 100 magazines to 3,500 (including The Economist, which is often requested)
    • Audiobooks – One of the fastest growing material formats at PCPLS, the new RBDigital model allows for unlimited concurrent use of their exclusive titles. Expanded services have added 6,000 adult titles (including many bestsellers), plus 2,000 Child and Young Adult titles
    • More streaming opportunities include:
      • Acorn TV – unlimited access to world-class mysteries, dramas and comedies from Britain and beyond
      • IndieFlix -- pop culture film favorites, box office hits, award-winning feature films, documentaries and shorts
      • Great Courses -- unlimited access to the largest and most immersive adult learning experience available
      • Pongalo Spanish TV -- unlimited access to Spanish language telenovelas and movies
      • Learn It Live – access to hundreds of expert-led programs covering cooking, nutrition, childcare, financial wellness, fitness, yoga, mindfulness, stress reduction, and more
      • Method Test Prep -- SAT and ACT test preparation materials and videos
  • Additional resources include:  
    • ArtistWorks – world-class music instruction through self-paced video lessons from master musicians
    • Hoonuit Device Software Training – training on hundreds of software applications and devices, including Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, Google Docs, and more
    • Universal Class – More than 500 lifelong learning courses in over 30 subject areas, many offering continuing education units
    • Creative Bug -- unlimited access to thousands of award-winning art and craft classes, including easy-to-follow instructions, videos, downloadable templates, recipes and inspiration for families (available in the next few days)
    • ZOOM – the online meeting tool many are using for collaborating remotely. Yet, the PCPLS has taken this step further and invested in two remote options for the Library:
      • The Library will be hosting virtual programming through a Zoom portal, accommodating up to 100 attendees for an unlimited amount of time
      • COMING SOON: Zoom Room - Zoom Room is a digital “meeting room” that can be checked out by patrons for their own use. This service will be available inside the library’s normal room booking system and can be checked out for up to two hours at a time, once per week, allowing patrons to host up to 300 people.
  • Remote Work
  • Youth Programming
    • The Library is offering three virtual story times per week. Plus, using a new project called Beanstack, the Library can offer both its Summer Reading Program and 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Program online. 
  • Teen Programming
    • Offering fun weekly programs such as nail art and pop culture talks
  • Adult Programming
    • Offering fun craft programs like bookmarks, rock painting, and more. Adult programming will soon be conducting book clubs, discussion groups and more concert offerings following their initial April 8 kickoff concert.  

“We’re excited for our community to discover these new opportunities, free with a library card through their very own Porter County Public Library System. We hope to see you all soon – live on pcpls.org,” said Butz.

The Porter County Public Library System aims to provide a center for information and discovery through innovative programming, robust collections and responsive services. The library is a place for all patrons to learn, connect and create. PCPLS includes five Indiana locations: Valparaiso, Portage, South Haven, Kouts and Hebron. For more information on the Porter County Public Library System, please visit pcpls.org and follow the Library on Facebook.