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Lara Rosales

April 07, 2020

Do you still need to do research for your classes? Are you lost as to where to start? Here are a few recommendations.

Students who usually take online classes have figured out different ways to gain access to the books they need. For others, it may be hard to get used to online lectures and they do not know where to begin their research. Due to the current situation we are all experiencing because of COVID-19, many online platforms are offering free access. Resources that usually cost money have allowed students the access to multiple books, magazines, and journals for free. Here are a few of them:

Public Libraries

Many students own a card to their nearest Public Library or have a connection to one through their college. Way before the current global pandemic, these Libraries were offering a big selection of books through their digital catalogs. They do it in many different ways —downloading the book, reading it online, or through an app— allowing students the access they need to continue studying. Check out your Library’s website and discover their many useful resources.

Apps for Libraries

Most of the Public Libraries that offer digital copies of their books do it through apps. You can download them on your phone or tablet, and some of them have easy access with laptops. All you need is your Library card; some of the apps let you sign in with more than one card giving you access to a bigger catalog. I would suggest trying OverDrive, Libby, and Hoopla Digital. Explore these apps, and find thousands of books and audiobooks to download.


JSTOR is an online platform used by many colleges. As a student you have access through your university —whether it be with your Student ID or a special ID your school has. They have decided to make “an expanded set of content freely available through June 30, 2020 to [their] participating institutions." I have personally used JSTOR before and recommend its use to any student working on a research project. It’s easily accessible and you can find accurate and reliable information.


Another online platform that gives you access to magazines, books, audiobooks, and documents is Scribd. Usually, they charge a subscription of $9.99/month — which is very much worth the money. However, due to COVID-19 their CEO released a letter stating “for the next month, we will be making Scribd’s library —which includes millions of ebooks, audiobooks, magazine articles, and more— available to anyone, free, for 30 days." My personal recommendation is that you take advantage of this free access.

We are all facing very challenging times yet life does not stop. Many have to continue attending their online classes, taking quizzes, and submitting essays. Sometimes —if not all the time— it might be hard to concentrate and find the appropriate resources. We are used to walking into our college library and having access to thousands of books that make studying easier. By leaving college and having to stay home, we feel like our resources were cut. However, we are lucky to live in a digital era that allows many online platforms to give us the access we need to books, journals, and magazines.

Maybe not all these platforms work for you. Maybe they do not have the kind of information you need. Maybe you are lost as to how they work. Maybe this is your first time accessing digital books. Whatever the case may be, take your time to study and explore your options. What works for some does not necessarily work for others. So, choose the platform that works for you and do your best at working on your classes. If you need help, remember to reach out to your teachers and ask them what kind of resources they recommend.

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