Using the library from a distance during COVID-19

Our physical locations are closed, but we’re here to help connect you with some high quality, content-rich online resources. For some, you’ll need a library card. Others are free and open to all.

Your key to online resources is your library card.

Never had a card? Lost your card? Get a Library Card number online (and get immediate access to digital resources). If you had a card and lost it, we’ll take care of any records-merging that needs to be done later, when we reopen.

Can’t remember your PIN number? Reset it on the My Accounts page (instructions are toward the bottom of the page).

All library cards expiring between January 1, 2019 and May 30, 2020 were extended to a May 31, 2020 expiration date.

Access library resources from home: 

  • Hoopla is back! Download the app for ebooks, audiobooks, and more.
  • Download the Libby app for ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines.
  • Stream video with Kanopy. In response to COVID-19 they’ve created a collection of films that won’t eat up any of your credits.
  • Access the complete New York Times including workouts and recipes.  
  • Learn a new language, try Mango.
  • See the full list of databases/learning tools for Arlington card-holders, most of which are accessible from home.
  • List of MA statewide databases.
  • Boston Public Library Online Resources – most online resources from Boston Public Library are available remotely. Anyone who lives, works, or studies in Massachusetts can register for an eCard to access these resources from home.

Need help with a digital device, or need help with another library question? Call us at 781-316-3233 and leave a message with your phone number, or email us at

For children and families

One of our regular sing along performers, Matt Heaton, is offering a series of free sing alongs through Facebook Live. Check the Facebook event listing for details. There are many other authors and performers offering content online: 

Authors Everywhere
This is a Youtube Channel created and run by children’s book writers and illustrators. Find workshops, readings, activities, art projects, writing games, writing advice, and more.

Storyline Online
Storyline Online streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations.

Story Preservation Initiative
You’ll find a selection of audio stories from three master storytellers on the K-3 Storytelling Learning Lab. A one-time registration is required, then click on “storytellers” and listen and enjoy at no cost.

Produced by the Greater Boston Illustrators’ Group.

As for physical library materials you currently have checked out–please hold on to them. Our outside book drops at Robbins and Fox are locked, and we do not have personnel on site to manage returns. We are a fine-free library, so you will not incur overdue fees on any materials that were checked out at Robbins or Fox Library. Don’t worry about fines even if you didn’t check out in Arlington–libraries are waiving fines. If you have holds currently ready at Robbins or at Fox, we’ll save them for you. We cannot predict when items “In Transit” will become available for pickup after we open due to inevitable delivery delays.

We know the library is more than just books. We go to the library for books and other materials, but we also go for story times, for a chance to use a computer to connect with others, and for a bit of social interaction. Right now, the most important thing for libraries to do is support social distancing and help flatten the curve.  

Find up-to-date information on Arlington’s response to COVID-19, including vital local social services resources, at Receive email updates by subscribing to Town Notices at

Arlington Department of Health and Human Services

Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–COVID-19

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2 Responses to Using the library from a distance during COVID-19

  1. laniecantor says:

    What wonderful resources! But I entered my Robbins library card number and tried to get into the Culinary Arts Collection but it didn’t recognize it. Any idea why?

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