COVID Freebies

Are you looking for ways to work, learn or teach, and entertain yourself from home?  Many online learning outlets are offering additional services at no charge in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  What is the difference between this page and our existing Electronic Resources page?  Our Electronic Resources are resources that the library subscribes to or that the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (MVLC), Mass. Board of Library Commissioners, and Mass. Library System subscribe to on our behalf.  They will still be here when the COVID threat is past, and yes, you should definitely check them out.

This page showcases a selection of links to other fun or useful online resources being offered in response to current events.  It also highlights some exciting add-ons and modifications for resources to which we already subscribe, such as remote usage for a resource that was normally In Library Use Only, or expanded downloads and streaming.

In a similar vein, visit Resources Galore!, a blog post by Children’s Librarian Lorraine Der listing outlets for remote learning and play.


Ancestry From Home

Our Ancestry Library Edition is a mainstay among our genealogical research subscriptions, but it was only available for use within the library.  Now Ancestry has agreed to make our subscription accessible from home during the shutdown period! Use your Hamilton-Wenham card number and PIN/password when prompted, and try it out!

Audible’s Discover

Audible is an Amazon company, but the Audible Discover collection is currently open to all for as long as schools remain closed.  Stream stories for free, including titles across six different languages, on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet. No app, account or login required, just a reliable internet connection.

Freegal 24 Hour Streaming

Do you use our Freegal Music subscription?  Freegal has upgraded library subscriptions from 3 hours of daily streaming to 24 hours per day at no cost. Just log in using your Hamilton-Wenham library card number and the PIN or password that you use to log into your library account. For additional questions, click here.

Hoopla Bonus Borrows

Hamilton-Wenham recently boosted the number of items patrons can borrow through Hoopla from 4 to 6!  Hoopla is doing their part as well by creating a collection of Bonus Borrows: 1,000 titles that are being offered free to libraries through April 30, 2020.  Items borrowed from the Hoopla Bonus Borrows collection do not count toward your limit of 6 items, so enjoy them freely.  (And remember, if you have or get a Boston Public Library eCard you can create a second account with Hoopla and borrow even more movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics and TV shows.)

Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library

The Internet Archive, or archive.org, receives some prominence on our Local History page, but the focus there is on items and collections with unlimited 24 hour public access, many of them in the public domain.  However, the Archive also has a lending library of 1.4M+ digitized books still bound by copyright, “available to be borrowed by one patron at a time, from anywhere in the world for free.”  Now, in response to school and library closures, the Archive has created a National Emergency Library to serve displaced learners. Waitlists for lending library books have been suspended through June 30th or the end of the U.S. national emergency, whichever is later. Click here to view the collection and learn more about it.

Learn at Home

This free 20-day online learning resource was created by Scholastic and should be of interest to parents, children and teachers.  Learn At Home employs two other Scholastic products called Book Flix and Watch & Learn Library.  If you are prompted to log into either of these, just enter the following:
username: Learning20 | password: Clifford

Camp NaNoWriMo

The Hamilton-Wenham Public Library has sponsored National Novel Writing Month events in the month of November for over ten years now (you can see our NaNoWriMo page here!)  Camp NaNoWriMo is a little different: every April and June, campers can set their own writing goals and work on the projects of their choice.  Like the traditional November NaNoWriMo, Camp NaNoWriMo is free, fun, and affords writers an opportunity to make their writing experience as social or not social as they care to make it.

National Geographic’s NatGeo@Home

National Geographic has created a digital hub of free resources for families to explore the world from home. Visit NatGeo@Home for games, lesson plans and more for kids and caregivers.

Rosetta Stone Three Months Trial Subscription

Many libraries used to carry Rosetta Stone products but had to drop them as pricing became prohibitive.  Still, it remains a giant in the field of self-directed language learning.  As of March 20th, 2020, Rosetta Stone is offering a three-month trial subscription for elementary, middle and high school students worldwide. That said, be sure to cancel before the billing date if you don’t want to be charged. (And remember, our library’s subscription to Rocket Languages, available through our Electronic Resources page, is free!)

World Book Online

Our print edition of World Book lives in the Children’s Room, but World Book Online is available to you now, beyond the library walls.  Enjoy learning at home with video tutorials, distance learning resources for parents, remote learning ideas for schools, Learn and Play with World Book Online, and fun lessons for all ages.  If prompted to log in, just enter the following:
username: wbsupport | Password: distancelearn
World Book has also created a Distance-Learning page for Parents, Caregivers and Teachers, offering tools and ideas for getting the most out of World Book Online.


Information *About* COVID-19

National Geographic Coronavirus Coverage

National Geographic is providing free access to all of their Coronavirus coverage to help individuals and families better understand COVID-19 and learn how to protect themselves.  No subscription need; click here to get started.

Pictures Books for Children about COVID-19

Several picture books about COVID-19 have been released online as a means of informing children about this dramatic development in their lives.

  • My Hero Is You: How Kids Can Fight COVID-19 is a project developed by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (IASC MHPSS RG) and written and illustrated by Helen Patuck.  It includes some fantasy elements and a message of international information sharing and cooperation.
  • BE A CORONAVIRUS FIGHTER! is written by Songju Ma Daemicke and narrated and Illustrated by Helen H. Wu.  It explains the current virus situation in simple terms and tells kids how they too can fight the illness.
  • Coronavirus: A Book for Children is written by Elizabeth Jenner, Kate Wilson, and Nia Roberts; illustrated by Axel Scheffler. It can be found on the Stay Home With Candlewick Press page, which includes activities, discussion guides, educational materials, videos, and more.