If you’re interested in saving time and money, and having research and reading outlets available at your convenience no matter where you are, or what time it is, give online libraries a shot. Whether you’re looking for a good novel to read, wanting an audio book for that road trip you’re taking, or researching your thesis, the following five sites will provide you plenty of options for each.
Also, be sure to check and see if your local library system is online. If they are, you may be able to access parts of their collection, such as e-books, automobile manuals, and magazine articles, over the internet. Many libraries also allow you to place a hold on a book, download videos, music, and audio books, and chat with a librarian.
Most of these services are available for free, though a few sites do charge a subscription fee—usually a small price to pay for having unlimited, 24/7 access to quality, trustworthy information and material.
Bartleby gives you free access to literature, non-fiction, and reference materials.
The Reference section includes: encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesaurus’, quotations’, and English usage manuals.
In Verse, find: anthologies and volumes of poetry including greats such as Robert Frost and Walt Whitman.
Fiction brings you: anthologies and volumes of classic literature from favorites such as Hans Christian Andersen, Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Homer, Sinclair Lewis, Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, William Shakespeare, and many more.
Non-Fiction includes: essays, inaugural addresses, historical document, autobiographies, and more.
Library Spot is packed with useful information. It’s a true virtual library and resource center. Published by Northwestern University/Evanston Research Park, Library Spot uses an editorial team to review and hand-select the highest quality sites on the web. They’ve won over 30 awards and honors for bringing users exceptional quality and content—for free!
Among the many resources you can find at Library Spot are:
Libraries, including public libraries, academic libraries, and even Presidential.
A Reading Room full of books, newspapers, journals, and more.
A Reference Desk which gives you access to: almanacs, thesaurus’, calculators, calendars, dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, maps, public records, quotations, statistics, white and yellow pages, and whole lot more.
Offering over 70,000 full text books, and 2 million newspaper, magazine, and journal articles in the humanities and social sciences, this is the perfect resource for students, teachers, or professionals in those fields. For unlimited use of the entire collection and the ability to read any work cover to cover, it will cost you $19.95 a month. For access to only one collection, you can get away with spending $9.95 a month. Questia also offers a free 72 hour trial service. The subscription also comes with a wide range of note-taking and writing tools, including tools to write notes in the margins, highlight passages, create footnotes and bibliographies, and the ability to hyperlink. The service is available, with staff, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Classic Book Library
At Classic Book Library, you can read dozens of your favorite classics online for free. From A Tale of Two Cities to Sense and Sensibility, The Wizard of Oz, and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, there’s plenty of treasured literature for you to choose from. Categories include: Historical Fiction, Romance, Children’s Literature, History, Science Fiction, Science, and Mystery. Each chapter is divided into separate pages, and the book includes a table of contents for easy bookmarking.
Books Free operates differently from other online libraries. It’s the Netflix of the literary world. You visit the website, check-out the paperbacks, CDs, or audio books you want, and they deliver your choices directly to your house. You will pay for the service, however shipping is free. Monthly plans start at $29.49 for unlimited check-outs of any materials. If you’re only interested in audio discs and books, plans start at $22.49 a month. Those of you only wanting to check-out paperbacks can get a plan as low as $9.99 a month. Books Free also offers combo packages and a’ la carte rentals. There are no due dates, and Books Free carries over 160,000 titles for you to choose from.
The fiction selection includes: action, horror, mystery, fantasy, comics, romance, science fiction, popular, and many sub-genres.
In non-fiction, select from biographies, business, cooking, health, history, philosophy, religion, travel, and more.