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HUNTINGTON — As the new decade begins, libraries in the Tri-State are encouraging patrons to take advantage of the many digital resources available to them, all accessible online through a cost-free library card.

“It’s important for people to know that libraries are changing,” Mary Lou Pratt, assistant director for adult services at the Cabell County Public Library, said. “A lot of people think the library is just a building with stacks of books inside, but there’s much more to it, and it’s available for anyone with an internet connection; if you don’t have internet, we have it here.”

The Cabell County Public Library and its branches offer digital collections of e-books, magazines, movies, music and more and online resources like journal articles and consumer reports, which can all be found through the library’s website, Pratt said.

“People may not realize, but we have the entire collection of Disney movies,” Pratt said.

The library uses the digital media service platform Hoopla in order for patrons to stream content, and similar to mainstream platforms, it keeps track of what users have watched and what they may be interested in later on.

Users can download content on Hoopla’s app or onto their computers or TVs for offline streaming.

The library also offers free courses online — from learning a new language to preparing for the GED or other standardized tests, Pratt said the library’s online medium has it all.

The Boyd County Public Library in Ashland offers similar services to its patrons.

“People can actually (visit the) library from their couch,” Library Director Debbie Cosper said in a news release. “Most everything that is available by visiting the actual library also is available from the library’s website.”

The Boyd County Public Library houses more than 500,000 items available online through its website as well as digital classes.

According to the release, reciprocal borrowing agreements allow Boyd County patrons to use services at libraries in Cabell and Wayne counties, as well as Lawrence County in Ohio.

The Putnam County and Wayne County public libraries also offer Hoopla’s services and other various databases.

“In order to access these resources, you do need a library card,” Pratt said. “You can get a library card at any one of our branches, and you just need an I.D. that shows your current address.”

Library card applications for Cabell County are available online in order for patrons to fill them out in advance, and Pratt advised new cardholders to be sure to know their PIN number in order to access the digital platforms.

Library cards are free for county residents.

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