By Jill Grunenwald, Marketing & Communications Specialist

Whether it’s taking Libby on the road through Apple CarPlay, listening to an audiobook while working out, or having the option to deliver a title later, users are always grateful for having access to ebooks and audiobooks through an OverDrive digital library.

Of course, libraries offer so much more than ebooks and audiobooks. 2020 brought unexpected and unforeseen obstacles, and our partners rose to the challenge, finding new and creative ways to safely reach their communities from a distance. Often this included patrons relying entirely on their local library’s OverDrive collection because they couldn’t visit the physical location.

With Thanksgiving coming up this week, we thought it would be a good idea to share some of the ways libraries and librarians have helped their communities during the pandemic. From providing access to ebooks and audiobooks, hosting Zoom story hours for kids, and supporting parents homeschooling for the first time, libraries continue to be a key service in their cities and towns.

Here are a few ways readers are thankful for their local library during this time:

The digital part of the library is a God send to me right now. I can get physical books right now, but because I am in isolation because of the pandemic, I cannot get out to do most activities so I have to suspend the way I usually get books and turn to digital reading. I have other people in my family with health compromised issues and cannot expose them to not only coronavirus concerns but other problems like the strains of flu and pneumonia that are starting. My digital OverDrive library has helped me so much. The variety and subjects of the choices are amazing. Thank you so much OverDrive for allowing us to continue to read and enjoy our favorite reads. Thanks to our library providing us with the access to OverDrive for Libraries. —Lilly

The Middletown Public library has been one of our most used resources. I started to homeschool this year and I’d be lost (and broke lol) without our library as a resource to check out books. I can reserve books from other libraries from within Rhode Island that they’ll have shipped to Middletown for me to pick up. So thank you to our libraries, from the bottom of my heart. —Jessica

The library has always been a safe haven for my family. Literacy is a key component in our everyday lives and my two small kiddos are readers. When the pandemic hit, the library allowed me to access materials for my student teaching experience that helped me connect with my class. My own kids were able to download and read stories that suited their social emotional needs and fuel their imaginations. It gave me an escape in which I was able to relax through reading. Books will always be a part of my life and I am so thankful for the partnerships that help support the library. —Annie

My library has been able to do amazing things. From curbside pickup to piloting a grab and go program (you fill out a form, they pick your books for you), to having online books,  Zoom meetings to take the place of programs. They’ve been amazing. As a healthcare worker, I can’t necessarily get there during the hours they’re open, but the variety of ways they’ve figured out how to meet our needs while still trying to keep safe themselves, they’ve been amazing! –@coco7095

My local library in Kettle Falls WA, is a lifeline. Not only as a physical bricks and mortar building with amazingly helpful staff. But, best of all for me, the ability to download books at home. I am a 24/7 caregiver to my husband , with limited time to actually browse a shelf. In the digital world, I have complete access, how wonderful is that. As I said, a lifeline –Julie

I was laid off for 2 weeks in April due to Covid, & this whole year has been full of worry & fear. Libby has always helped me escape reality & save my sanity but especially so in 2020. I am VERY thankful for this wonderful, free service! —Kay

Our local library holds children’s story times throughout the week via Zoom, with crafts and book bundles for pick-up (both children and adults). After pulling my daughter out of daycare and working from home, having social interaction with other children to read stories and crafts to do at home have been wonderful for my daughter. We so greatly appreciate our library! — Jaime

Having access to the public library has been great during quarantine because not only have I had access to the online resources through Libby and OverDrive, but I’ve also been able to keep up with any physical books that I’ve been wanting to read! Also all of the staff have been friendly and helpful! –Neva

My local library takes me through all the hard times, the good times….just all times. They have added more digital titles, more Zoom and Facebook programs and social media interactions. They have done all that they can to provide services during shutdown and now that we are a red zone. I do not want to live without my library card. McCracken County Public Library, I love you. —Michelle

I enjoy listening to audiobooks while I putter. As a highly distractible person, having something to listen to helps me focus. Unfortunately, my library card expired mid-lockdown. My library kindly extended my card through the lockdown so I could continue listening to my books. —Catherine

To all of our librarians, educators, and school partners, we hope you all know how thankful we all are for the tremendous work that you do every single day. More importantly, we hope you know how much your communities appreciate you.

Have your own story to share about how your library has helped you during the pandemic? Find OverDrive on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and let us know!

Quotes have been condensed for length and lightly edited for clarity.