1. Epic
  2. Hoopla
  3. Libby
  4. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
  5. Public Library
  6. Little Free Libraries
  1. Epic is a go-to website for kids to read books of any genre. I love to use it in my classroom for research projects on the Civil War and engineering. It has some books you may have heard of and some obscure titles that seem to be written just for their website. It is made for students, and is only free during school hours (7:00 am – 3:00 pm), which makes it a little tricky to access, but it is worth it for the plethora of options it offers.  They have a premium option that is available anytime and includes some locked content. I do not have the premium version, but those books look awesome and I have been tempted on more than one occasion to upgrade my account.  **Please note: Be careful not to get this site mixed up with the medical site with the same name. This site is www.getepic.com
  1. I use Hoopla almost every day to read (or listen to) books for myself. It is available through my local library. Unfortunately, not all libraries offer it, which is disappointing. Whenever there is a book I want to read, I check Hoopla first. There have only been a handful of times that it has not had what I wanted. My lifestyle works best with audio books right now, and most of the books I have looked for have the audio version. There are books for both kids and adults and they have a suggested section based on genre. I have found a few good reads that way too. Another feature that Hoopla offers is movie rentals. The movies it offers are somewhat obscure, but it isn’t much different than scrolling through Netflix and finding a movie from the early 2000s you didn’t even remember was made. You get these movies for 2 days, and you don’t even have to remember to return them to the book drop – everything returns on its own. If you need more time, you can just borrow it again (unless you have met your Hoopla limit for the month). Music is also available – a few years ago, I downloaded a few Disney Junior albums on a road trip and let Big Love jam out all the way to Ohio. That was the only time I ever met my Hoopla borrow limit. There are a few more features worth exploring, such as BingePasses and comics. If your library does not allow you access to this amazing resource, consider asking them about it. I don’t really know if that would work, but it couldn’t hurt! 
  2. Libby is another site similar to Hoopla. I have not explored it very much, but if you are familiar with Overdrive, these two sites are partners. When I couldn’t get my hands on the free audiobook of Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens through Hoopla, Libby came to the rescue. Similar to Hoopla, it also offers bonus content such as magazines, childrens’ books and audiobooks. When I get a little more spare time, I will explore it more. I know a lot of people who choose to use Libby before Hoopla. That is probably a valid choice, but I just started backwards, so it is hard to change my habits. 
  3. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library was started by…you guessed it…Dolly Parton. It began in 1995 in her hometown in Tennessee because she wanted to get books in the hands of children. When families read with their children everyday, children’s vocabularies increase greater than children from families who read less or not at all. There are so many residual effects of lack of early literacy development that are felt by students in schools across the country. Low literacy rates often lead to behavior problems and lack of self confidence. Imagination Library sends books to children once a month from birth to age 5. It is not available in all areas, but it is growing rapidly. I highly recommend signing up for this – my Little Love lights up each time we hand her her new book. 
  4. People – Did you know that there was this place where you could visit and they give you things you actually want for zero dollars? It’s your public library, so you probably have one right down the road. Even my tiny, rural county has three branches, which gives so many people access to countless resources. Obviously, libraries have books to loan, but did you know they offer so much more? There are movies, music, computers, family resources, magazines, crafts, classes, 3D printers, and so much more. You do have to return the resources you borrow, but you can always check them out again. If you haven’t visited in a while, give it a shot. The people are nice, the books are plentiful, and there are so many extras that you forget you are getting it all for free. I highly recommend checking it out! (See what I did there…check it out…)
  1. Little Free Libraries are popping up all over the place. They are little wooden cupboards in common areas like town centers or parks. People drop off books they are finished with and other people come along and take the books and read them. The idea is that if you take one, you return it or something else to take its place (otherwise the Little Free Library concept would end pretty rapidly). Unlike the public library, if you love the book you find here, you can hang on to it. If you have a few books you are finished with, you can always feel free to drop off more than you take. That can make up for the people who forget to return the ones they took (It’s me – I am those people – it was at a soccer field and I took it and then my kid stopped playing soccer and we never went back there and I’m so so so sorry!)

Are there other places where you read books for free?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *