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borrow ebooks

I recently learned that Google has made finding free legal eBooks that can be borrowed from the library easier than ever. I was curious how well it worked, so I experimented with the feature. Here is what I discovered for both desktop and mobile versions.

Desktop Computer3.12 Desktop Version

After entering a book title on Google, the feature appears on the right side within what is known as the Google Knowledge Graph display. Basically, there is a box on the right side of the screen next to the search results. The box contains information about the book including ratings and reviews from various websites, book summary, publication date, author, genre, awards (if any), online bookstores where it is available to be purchased and FINALLY the Borrow ebook section.

Be aware that if the book title is not available from the library, you will not see the Borrow ebook section. However, keep reading for additional search quirks.

If the eBook is available, you will see a list of libraries within your geolocated range or, in other words, libraries nearby. If the wrong libraries are displayed, you can change your location by clicking on the Edit Location link and entering your zip code or city name. The library list will then reload.

Don’t see Provo City Library listed? No problem.

Provo City Library’s eBook holdings are found within the Utah’s Online Library collection. Utah’s Online Library gives Provo City Library card holders access to both the Provo City Library eBook collection and the Utah State Library collection.

After searching, click on Utah’s Online Library to either borrow the item immediately or place a hold which will then notify you via email when the eBook is available.

Please note, to borrow free legal eBooks from the online library, you will need a Provo City Library card. Library cards from other Utah libraries can also be used to check out eBooks from Utah’s Online Library, but will not give you access to Provo City Library’s collection.

 

Mobile Device3.12 Mobile Version

After searching Google on a mobile device, look for the block of color in the search results that shows the title and author of the book. Just below the title and author is a mini menu.

Tap on Get Book in the mini menu. Then look for Borrow ebook. This section can be found just below the list of online bookstores.Tap on Utah’s Online Library. You will then be redirected to the eBook entry for the title you entered. Here you can either borrow the item immediately or place a hold which will then notify you via email when the eBook is available.

Please note, to check out free legal eBooks from the online library, you will need a Provo City Library card. Library cards from other Utah libraries can also be used to check out eBooks from Utah’s Online Library, but will not give you access to Provo City Library’s collection.

My Discoveries

Through trial and error, I have discovered some quirks to be aware of with this search feature.

Only OverDrive: There are other eBook collections out there including RBdigital which you also have access to with your Provo City Library card. However, Google search currently only works with OverDrive, so you will not see any results for other eBook collections.

No audiobooks: Even though Utah’s Online Library also offers free legal audiobooks to borrow and listen to, Google’s search feature only works for eBooks. No results will come up if there is an audiobook but no eBook.

Books made for the silver screen: Books made into movies or TV series don’t always return results. For example, I tried searching for Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library which is a movie and a book. The title does not return any free eBooks even though the book is available in Utah’s Online Library collection. However, a search for the second book in the series, Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Race, which does not have a movie version, does come up.

I have discovered that sometimes, adding “book” to the end of the title will help return the correct results, but not always.

Correct titles: You know how Google is great for finding something even if you can’t quite remember what it’s called? Well that doesn’t work so well when finding eBooks. I tried experimenting with variations on book titles with poor results. For example, I search for Mistborn but no eBooks came up. However, when I changed my search to Mistborn: The Final Empire, then it came up.Tip: if you can’t remember the title, search for it on Google. After finding the correct title, perform a new search.

Vague titles: Titles that are not specific enough to return good results can also be problematic. For example, Hunted. Just entering “hunted” in the search box will not return any eBook results. However, try adding “book” to the end of the title or the author’s name and you will have far better luck.

My Conclusions

While this is a handy new, automatic feature built into Google, the results are still a little sporadic. Readers that frequently look for books by searching Google will find this a useful tool. However, if you really want to know if an eBook is available, I would recommend directly searching Utah’s Online Library (https://utahsonlinelibrary.overdrive.com/). For me, I think this is a great new feature for browsing and chancing across interesting books, but it is less useful when I am looking for something specific.

6 Books for Boys 01

Ever wonder how librarians hone their recommendation skills? Sometimes, our librarians play a game we call the 6 Degrees of reading. The rules are simple: choose six books, each connected somehow to the book above it, with the last book in the list connecting to the first. Periodically, we like the results enough to share them with you. 

Here are six classic books that boys love to read!

DEAD END IN NORVELT
by Jack Gantos
(2011)

Unfortunately for Jack Gantos, at any sign of trouble or stress he instantly gets a nose bleed. Since there’s no money to fix his nose, Jack just has to deal with being different. A series of events and an overprotective mother leave Jack grounded from everything except helping the old lady next door—a professional obituary writer. But this depressing start to summer soon takes off with a bang in this wacky coming of age story.  

PAPERBOY
by Vince Vawter
(2013)

Victor Vollmer has long accepted he’s a little different. His stutter makes talking a huge chore, but he has his tricks and can make it through most days without too much trouble. When summer comes, however, his best friend asks Victor to take over his paper route for a month. It seems like a simple way to make a little extra money and help out a friend, but Victor is in for both a heart-warming and terrifying lesson in human nature and his own self-worth.  

SUMMER OF THE MONKEYS
by Wilson Rawls
(1967)

Jay’s twin sister is a cripple, but the family is too poor to do anything about it. One summer Jay discovers that a family of escaped circus monkeys has taken residence down by the river. With the help of his grandfather, Jay plans to capture the monkeys and claim the reward—making his family rich. Humorous and heartfelt moments abound in this slightly fantastical story.  

BY THE GREAT HORN SPOON
by Sid Fleischman
(1963)

Jack and his butler, Praiseworthy, seek to restore the family’s lost riches in the California gold rush. Two gentlemen couldn’t be further out of their element from the moment they set foot on the steamer ship headed west from Boston. This rip-roaring bit of historical fiction features its fair share of interesting factoids and tall tales.  

THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
by Mark Twain
(1884)

Twain, the king of tall tales, hits a home run in this classic story of roughing it down the Mississippi river. Huck and the escaped slave Jim find themselves meeting a panoramic jumble of the good, the bad, and the ugly in this surprisingly thoughtful look at the way people treat each other. 

LITTLE BRITCHES: FATHER AND I WERE RANCHERS
by Ralph Moody
(1950)

When he is 8-yrs-old, Ralph Moody’s family moves from New Hampshire to rough it on a cattle ranch in Colorado, a place where the wild west wasn’t that long ago. Ralph, nicknamed “little britches,” comes of age in this true story about giving your all, being a man, and enjoying the little things while you have them.

chapter books to films

Children who can read chapter books independently open up a whole new world for themselves—and provide enjoyment for the whole family. I remember thinking that when my oldest son learned to read, it was equally as magical as when he learned to speak. As a family you can have extended activities that go along with reading. It can add some variety to the normal routine or inspire a child who doesn’t particularly love reading. You can create a family book club where each child reads the book, and after having a discussion about the book, everyone can watch the movie. You can also choose a fun read-aloud and as a family when you finish the book, watch the movie. Of course, the book and movie might be very different, but the discussion that comes will be enjoyable, and everyone can participate because they read the book or had the book read to them! Last year I wrote a post on movies inspired by picture books. Consider today’s post a follow-up with a list of our family’s favorite longer chapter books that have inspired movies.  

3.9 Charlottes WebCHARLOTTE’S WEB
By E. B. White
(1952)

Fern saves the runt of a litter of pigs and cares for it as her baby. When Wilbur, the pig, gets big enough, she takes him to her uncle’s farm. It’s easy to fall in love with both Wilbur and Fern. She is easy to relate to and the reader can feel happy and sad right along with her. Wilbur has to find a way to prove to the farmer it is worth keeping him around and he finds a true friend to help him on his quest. 

 

3.9 Charlottes Web DVDCHARLOTTE’S WEB
(1973)

This cartoon classic is perfect for younger chapter-book readers. There is some sadness, but children can gain empathy for future experiences from both books and film. There is also humor throughout. The characters are lovable and it is an inspiring story of friendship children can learn from as they go through their elementary school years. 

 

3.7 The Tale of DespereauxTHE TALE OF DESPEREAUX
By Kate DiCamillo
(2003) 

This Newbery winner begins when a kingdom famous for its marvelous soup encounters tragedy. A rat falls into the queen’s soup, causing her to have a heart attack and die. Soup and rats are then outlawed. A smaller-than-average mouse with large ears, a big heart, and incredible bravery starts his adventure to return happiness and peace to the land, save a princess, and do other heroic things brave mice usually end up doing. 

 

3.9 The Tale of DespereauxTHE TALE OF DESPEREAUX
(2009)

It seems that children identify with small creatures that defy the odds and are courageous in fighting for what they believe in. Despereaux is just such an inspirational character. Adults and children will enjoy this family friendly adventure. 

 

3.9 HolesHOLES
By Louis Sachar
(1998)

Yet another Newbery winner is perfectly crafted to include a mysterious curse that spans generations. Stanley Yelnats is framed for a crime he did not actually commit, but he serves the time at a camp for troubled youth. The campers dig holes to help build their character. Stanley meets a fellow camper who helps him solve the mystery of Kissin’ Kate Barlow and the real reason they spend every day digging those holes. 

 

3.9 Holes dvdHOLES
(2003)

The film has something for everyone. It can be tricky to find a movie that everyone in the family truly enjoys, but this is it. Mystery, romance, and humor are all there and well done. There is seamless transition from present to past and back again. All the characters are well-developed and my favorite, of course, is Sam the onion seller. 

 

3.9 The Lion the Witch and the WardrobeTHE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
By C. S. Lewis
(1950)

Four siblings are sent to live with their uncle. They play hide and seek one day and find a mysterious world, Narnia, on the other side of the wardrobe. The people of Narnia are under the terrible reign of an evil queen. The children go on a crusade to bring peace back to the land. 

 

3.9 The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe dvdCHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
(2006)

It seems every child has an inner hope to enter a magically secret world and escape the mundane regular world. The characters, costumes, scenery, and especially the music of this film bring to life the land of Narnia. It truly feels magical. 

 

3.9 The BFGTHE BFG
By Roald Dahl
(1982)

I remember reading this in the fifth grade, and it’s a classic that continues to make my kids laugh. Dahl has created characters that readers can really relate to. He understands what school-agers find hilarious. The detail he uses really helps the reader create a picture in their mind. 

 

3.9 The BFG dvdTHE BFG
(2016)

There are some amazing things about technology. Creating a computer-generated Big Friendly Giant is definitely one of them. The giant really comes to life in a way that previous technology would not allow. My favorite is definitely the scene where the giant visits the queen. The magnitude of having a giant come to dinner is so fun to be a part of.

 

IB More FB

When I tell people that I work at a library many of them are surprised that libraries are more than just books. But they are! Yes, we have books—lots of them—for all different subjects and age ranges. But there is so much more to the library than just books. First of all, the Provo City Library has a variety of programs (like the Fairy Tea Party that I wrote about last month). Second, the library has a plethora of meeting rooms. Some are large and can be rented, like the Ballroom. Some are small and can be reserved at the First Floor Adult Reference Desk, such as our study rooms or smart room. Finally, some of my personal favorite things that aren’t books are the databases. Provo City Library has quite a few databases that can be especially helpful.

AutoMate can help if you are fixing your car and you need diagrams or repair manual information.

The Home Improvement Reference Center database can help those doing any sort of home improvement project.

The Hobbies and Crafts Reference Center has loads of information on any craft or hobby you may want to learn or read about under the sun.

Lynda.com has a plethora of movies made by professionals (not just random Youtube channel vloggers) to teach anything from how to use the Adobe Suit software to how to use a brand new camera you may have purchased. Seriously. If there is something you want to learn how to do—you should check out this database.

The Adult Learning Center: Learning Express Library and the College Center:Learning Express Library both provide access to all sorts of practice tests. And another database lets you take practice DMV Permit tests.

Freegal is a music database where you can download (and keep forever) three free songs and stream a few hours of music per week (and who doesn’t love free music?).

OverDrive is amazing for ebooks and audiobooks, but it also has some movies you can stream or download for free.

These are only a few of the databases that we have available on our library’s website! So, when you think of the Provo City Library, don’t just think of books—remember that we are so much more than books. We are entertainment, a community space, and a vast reference to community resources. Come visit to learn what else the library can be for you!

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