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5 Library Services to Use at Home When the Library’s Closed

Even though the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in Eau Claire is closed until at least April 6 in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, you can still visit – virtually – and take advantage of some of the amazing digital services the library has to offer.

If you’ve got a card from the Eau Claire library – or, in many cases, a card from any of the libraries in the MORE consortium (including Altoona, Chippewa Falls, Menomonie, and many others) – a free portal of online entertainment and education awaits. Here are some of the library’s best digital offerings:


Want to escape with a Danielle Steele novel? Learn how to make the BEST slime? Get some life lessons from the Berenstain Bears? Through Wisconsin’s Digital Library, you’ve got access to a “massive catalog of books and audiobooks available online and using apps.” Those free apps, OverDrive and Libby, can help connect you with books and audiobooks on your iPad, Kindle, or other digital device, all for the low price of absolutely free!


Freading is another ebook service available to MORE library cardholders, specializing in nonfiction and travel guides. (Virtual vacation, anyone?) You can check out to three titles per week, and there are no waiting lists.


Dedicated to “local music for local ears,” Sawdust City Sounds is a unique collection of tunes by Chippewa Valley-based musicians – including favorites like Eggplant Heroes, Drunk Drivers, and Jim Pullman – which you can stream or download. Take this opportunity to check out some outstanding local albums and make plans for when you can see these performers in person again!


This service offers unlimited streaming of music and videos from an enormous range of national and international artists – all for free. Plus, you can download and keep up to five songs per week (also for free), which makes Freegal a budget-friendly way to build your personal music collection.


Flipster lets library users flip through dozens of magazine titles – from National Geographic and Rolling Stone to People and Ranger Rick Jr. – for free, anytime anywhere. It’s like sitting in the world’s best waiting room without leaving your house!

This list is just the tip of the iceberg. Learn more about all of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library’s digital offerings here and here. Explore the links and start to learn a language, discover your family’s genealogy, or learn how to file your taxes.

As Library Director Pamela Westby wrote in a message to patrons:

We also encourage those who may be self-distancing to enjoy some of the library’s digital collections. See what Eau Claire looked like back in “the day,” learn more about your family history, or start building up your “to read” list.

For those of you who have borrowed library materials in your possession, do not fear the due date – we are a fine-free library! We are also extending loan periods during this time, so you do not need to return materials until we are back in full operation. Book drops at the library and around town will be closed, so please hold on to your materials until we re-open.

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