Best Apps and Websites for Learning All Summer Long

By Kelly Simon, Community Engagement Specialist with Catawba County Library System June 20, 2019

Read More This Summer – When and Where You Want!

For selection and ease of use, it is hard to beat digital library resources. With a few quick gestures on a smartphone or tablet, you can view or download a book, video, or CD no matter your location. Technology places education and entertainment directly in your hands, whenever you are ready for it.

This easy access is especially helpful for parents, because the library has thousands of titles for kids. Four main platforms offer plenty of options to keep youngsters engaged and learning during summer vacation or anytime throughout the year. And best of all, everything is free with your library card!

Hoopla ( lets users download and stream thousands of ebooks, comics, audiobooks, videos, and music. You never have to wait on items – if you see it, you can check it out! – and all users can access the site’s resources simultaneously. Among the items on hand are more than 50 Pete the Cat books, Big Nate, the Percy Jackson series, Superman, and Spiderman! The Catawba County Library offers five Hoopla checkouts per month per card.

The NC Kids Digital Library ( is a statewide digital resource for newborns to 4th graders. Ebooks, audiobooks, videos, magazines, and Read-Alongs are available through two apps: OverDrive (the original) and Libby (a newer version, which makes viewing magazines a little easier). The materials are instantly accessible, with 1,723 always-available titles and 22,000 other titles that can be checked out to one person at a time. (Use the ‘check availability’ option to see what’s on hand while you’re browsing.) NC Kids Digital Library offers five checkouts at a time per card; as soon as you turn one in, you can get another.

Tumblebooks ( offers unlimited use of more than 1,100 titles for children in kindergarten through 6th grade. It’s known for animated, talking picture books, but it also features read-along chapter books, National Geographic videos, non-fiction books, playlists, books in Spanish and French, graphic novels, and math stories. There’s never a wait for Tumblebooks items, and they can be accessed easily through the website or with an app available from Google Play or iTunes. ( is a global initiative that makes online resources available to pre-K, kindergarten, and early elementary students, helping them get a strong start in learning. It invites children and parents to explore concepts related to reading, math, the world, and art through eye-catching illustrations and lessons. Activities teach knowledge and skills in fun, age-appropriate ways. ABCmouse is subscription-based, so it’s available only from within the Catawba County Library’s seven locations.

To learn more about these various digital resources, speak to any library staff member. Or, if you already have a library card, just pull up the websites or download the apps, and enter your card number to get started. Everything is available at your fingertips!

Check out all of the Summer Reading opportunities in our area, and be sure to watch the Events Calendar for the many great Summer Learning programs offered by our area libraries.

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