Physical libraries are closed across the state, but that doesn’t mean you can’t access your favorite books. If you have an e-reader or a smart phone, you have access to thousands of ebooks, audiobooks, movies, music, research materials, and more at your fingertips — all thanks to your library card!
We’ve outlined some of the digital offerings at libraries in Texas’ biggest cities, but don’t worry if your local library isn’t on this list — check with them to see what you can check out during this time!
Austin Public Library
If you already have a library card; great! You have access to APL’s Virtual Library. If you don’t, visit this page to apply for an eCard (the application will take a few business days to process) so you can access the library’s virtual offerings. The eCard is free for Austin residents and $22 for non-residents.
To use APL’s virtual offerings, visit the Virtual Library page on the library’s website. Here, you can access thousands of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, movies, and music. APL uses a variety of apps and databases, like OverDrive, Hoopla, cloudLibrary, Kanopy, and more. You may need to download separate apps or create new logins to access some of the titles through these services, but all of them are free with your library card! There are different borrowing guidelines and limitations for each service, so make sure to research how each service works before using it. APL’s Virtual Library page has plenty of help pages for you to refer to if you get stuck.
Houston Public Library
Houston Public Library cards are free for Texas residents — that’s right, anywhere in Texas. You can apply online for a MY Link Houston Public Library eCard here, if you don’t already have one.
Once you have a library card, you can access the Houston library’s digital content using a variety of services, including OverDrive and Hoopla. Pro-tip: If you download the SimplyE app for Android or iOS devices, you can search Overdrive and Axis ebooks, as well as RBDigital audiobooks, all within the app. Learn more about HPL’s digital content offerings here, including loan periods for the various services and what types of services the library offers for ebooks, audiobooks, music, movies, and more. If you’re having trouble, visit the digital content FAQs page here.
Dallas Public Library
If you don’t already have a library card, Dallas residents can email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a card. Make sure to attach a photo ID and proof of residence. You can also call 214-670-7809 to have a card issued by phone.
The library offers ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines via services like OverDrive, Hoopla, cloudLibrary, Axis360, and more. Visit the Dallas library’s online offerings page to learn more about what you can find on each of those services and how to use them.
San Antonio Public Library
If you don’t have an SAPL library card yet and you’re a current resident of Bexar County, you can register online for a 90-day eCard to access the library’s online offerings.
El Paso Public Library
If you don’t have a library card, El Paso residents can apply for a temporary library card here to access digital downloads.
The El Paso library also uses apps like OverDrive, Hoopla, Libby, and more. You can download the El Paso Public Library app to access and download thousands of digital titles.
Fort Worth Public Library
Fort Worth residents can apply for e-cards here. Once you have a card, you can access a variety of digital titles via Libby, OverDrive, Amplify 817, and more. Check out a full list of digital offerings here.
Other public libraries
If you aren’t sure about your local library’s digital offerings, visit their website! You can also visit the websites for Kanopy (movie streaming), Hoopla (ebooks, audiobooks, movies, music, etc.), OverDrive (ebooks, audiobooks, and video), and Libby to see if your local library uses their services and log in with your library card number.