Beyond stacks & storytimes: Check out Greenville County Library System’s Download & Stream services

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Can’t go to the library but need something new to read, watch or listen? The Greenville County Library System has a large offering of digital content. You can borrow e-books, audio books, movies and more right from your computer, phone or tablet. Find out about the apps the library uses and what you can borrow using them.

I live about a mile from my closest Greenville County library. Because it’s on the way to and from my son’s school, I pop in there regularly to grab books for my kids and to pick up titles I’ve reserved for myself. It’s convenient, quick, and accessible. However, not too long ago, a friend recommended giving the libraries’ e-books a shot. (I was going on a trip and did not want to lug books around.) I was hooked!

I am one of those people who likes to have a book with me at all times—just in case a moment of quiet mysteriously appears. Yet, in my mad dash to get out the door, I often forget my book. Cue the e-books. If you share my need for an easy on-the-go book option, want to downsize on the amount of hard copies of movies, books, magazines, and music you have in your home, and/or just want to broaden your horizons with free resources, the Greenville Library System’s various Download and Stream services deserve your attention.

Across only four platforms or apps, you can read e-books, comics, and magazines; watch music videos, TV, and movies; and listen to audiobooks and music. While each platform is different, there are a few things they have in common. To access them, you have to have an active library account and you need to create accounts on each of the platforms. Don’t have a library card? You can sign up for an eCard that grants you access to online resources and some of the Download & Stream services. The eCard is a temporary card. To get full access to library resources, you’ll need to stop in at a library with a photo ID and proof of residence.

Like any item you check out from the library, each item has a set loan period. When the loan period is up, you can no longer access the item you checked out without checking it out again. (However, with Freegal, you can download five songs a week—and keep them.) In some instances, an item will already be on loan and you’ll need to place a hold on it and wait—much like you would any item found in the stacks at the library. Each platform is web-accessible or you can download the app for your Apple or Android devices.

Greenville County Library System: Apps for Digital Library Access

While these apps won’t give you access to every single title under the sun, they will give you (or your child) plenty! Here’s a quick description of what you might like (or love) about each app.

Hoopla

What you can access: Ebooks, Audiobooks, Comics, Music, Movies, and TV shows.
What’s to love:

  • This app is a workhorse and offers a lot!
  • Looking for items for a child? There is a “Kids” option you can check, which then allows the app to only show you kid-friendly material.
  • You can also edit your recommendation settings. Do you like hip-hop music and books about gardening? Then simply click on those subjects and the app will recommend items for you.
  • Have someone obsessed with Frozen in your household? You can download the Frozen II soundtrack and read a few Frozen II read-along books. We also love Mo Willems in our house and there are several Mo Willems audiobooks and movies (including a few biographies about Willems himself).
  • Need a quick TV show to help your kiddo avoid a meltdown as you check out at the grocery? (We’ve all been there!) Paw Patrol. Daniel Tiger. Magic School Bus. Shimmer and Shine. Hoopla has many of your child’s favorites.

OverDrive

What you can access: Ebooks
What’s to love:

  • OverDrive was my first true love in regard to the library’s download services. It’s easy to use and has plenty of popular titles. I’ve found books that were read in my book club, such as The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty, The Library Book by Susan Orlean, and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Richardson, to name a few.
  • They also have plenty of popular kids’ titles, too! My son will be jazzed to learn he can access more Pete the Cat books from the comfort of home.

Libby

What you can access: Audiobooks, eBooks, magazines
What’s to love:

  • I am thrifty and for some reason magazines always seem too expensive. Libby to the rescue! We may be ditching the two magazine subscriptions we have thanks to this app.
  • We’ve really gotten into podcasts in our house lately and, once my son gets older and his attention span a little longer, I will gladly check out some of the audiobook titles on Libby. Their catalog includes popular contemporary fiction (i.e. Diary of a Wimpy Kid) and plenty of classics like The Land of Oz by Frank Baum.

Freegal Music

What you can access: Music and Music Videos.
What’s to love:

  • Freegal offers more than 15 million songs across 200 genres!
  • It’s a fun app for exploring new music via their various recommendations and playlists.
  • Their Featured Playlists showcase some seasonally appropriate tracks, such as a playlist of poems for National Poetry Month or songs about or by Irish singers for St. Patrick’s Day.

I am regularly impressed by Greenville County libraries and these services really solidify this opinion. While the tangible feel of a book in your hands is difficult to replicate, digital media comes with benefits that a book can’t beat!

Be sure to read our rundown of Greenville County Library.

Which of the library’s Download and Stream services do you use? Which one will you check out?

About the Author
India Menon is a native New Orleanian married to a South Indian immigrant. They have lived in Greenville since 2011. A former educational researcher, she is now a stay-at-home parent to two children and helps organize a local Meetup group for stay-at-home moms. Fueled by coffee and good humor, she enjoys playing outdoors, cooking, eating, reading, and plenty of Pinterest fails.

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Rose
12 days ago

Hello,
RB Digital does not exist anymore. Digital magazines can be found on Libby (Overdrive). Thanks for writing about the library!
-Rose