Libraries may be closed, but here are four ways to read books for free | Literary Arts | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Libraries may be closed, but here are four ways to read books for free

click to enlarge Little 'Bird House' Library in Bloomfield - CP PHOTO: JORDAN SNOWDEN
CP Photo: Jordan Snowden
Little 'Bird House' Library in Bloomfield
With libraries closed until further notice, how can bookworms who rely on the public establishments continue to get their reading fix? Here are four ways to keep on reading.

Find a Little Free Library
Found in over 90 countries, Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that dubs itself as "the world's largest book-sharing movement." It's a neighborhood book exchange that follows a "take one, leave one" model, but was started in 2009 by Todd H. Bol to help give 24/7 reading material access to children living in book deserts.

Anyone can put up a Little Free Library by building their own and registering it online, or by buying a kit or premade structure at

Because of this, Little Free Libraries come in numerous shapes and sizes and are often unique to the person who built it, or the neighborhood in which it lives. To find one, check out the map on Little Free Library's website or simply go hunting around your neighborhood. Many
Little Free Libraries, like the Little 'Bird House' Library seen above, are made by local book lovers but have not been registered.

If you pick one up, you may want to wipe it down with a sanitizer!

Browse Carnegie Library's ebook selection
While you can't currently borrow physical books from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, those with library cards can utilize its eLibrary offerings. This includes ebooks, audiobooks, videos, music, and more. All of those can be accessed on different apps like OverDrive (ebooks, audiobooks) and Teen Book Cloud (books and audiobooks for grades 7-12). Read the full descriptions of each eLibrary platform here to find out which one is right for you. (Personally, I'm a fan of Libby. It's extremely user-friendly and be downloaded and used on Apple, Windows, and Android devices.)

Don't' have a library card? Sign up here.

Virtually visit the Library of Congress
If you are a fan of older books, the Library of Congress is for you. Under its "Classic Books" section, you can read over 60 classics online at the click of a button, no library card or login required. Read from digitals copies of books (with their original design and layout), including The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Mody Dick, The Secret Garden, and more.

Find a book buddy
If you are lucky enough to have a friend who also likes to read, create a book swap! Share books by dropping books off at their home (if they live close, and please use no-contact delivery), or better yet, mail it to them. Because who doesn't like to receive things in the mail? Plus, book mail is the best mail. 

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