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Working from home? Digital and online library tools can help.

Whether your normal “daily grind” entails a remote work — or if current lockdowns have you working at home — your public library can help you to stay productive!

Laura Kathryn Bright
Mar 26 · 5 min read

If you’re like me, you typically work remotely, even when global health concerns are not a deciding factor. Alternatively, you may be currently working from home as a safety measure precaution because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Why choose to use digital and online services from your public library?

(Save) money, money, money
Online services, programs, and products are typically offered to library members for free. In the rare exception that a public library resource is not free, it should be available at a very low cost. Remember, tax dollars support libraries, so libraries can support you! I strongly encourage the public to take advantage of these free and low-cost resources during all economic climates.

Convenience and quality
Your local library system adds and manages online and digital resources by researching and prioritizing your needs. Furthermore, being organized is an extremely important consideration to librarians, including digital librarians. Therefore, using your library’s digital and online resources can save you from wasting time and feeling frustrated. Sure, Google is awesome! However, libraries can reduce a lot of frustration by offering orderly, reliable, and relevant resources in the same place.

Rich in resources
Sure, libraries have ebooks - but those resources make up just a fraction of your library’s digital assets. Whether you need access to data and informatics or want to build your business, your library is very likely to offer databases, online courses, and interactive multimedia products that can help.

What products, services, and solutions can the library offer individuals working from home?

Here are a few of my favorite virtual library tools for remote work:

Digital and Online Resources for Work and Productivity

  • SimplyAnalytics
    This application allows users to create interactive multimedia products, including maps, reports, and other data visualization tools. SimplyAnalytics can help you to answer questions and share information while accounting for thousands of variables. It’s extremely useful for delving into marketing, business, demographic, and health data, and it’s user-friendly design simplifies project organization.
  • ProQuest Entrepreneurship Database
    Both current entrepreneurs and individuals who dream of creating their own businesses can benefit from this powerful database. This tool covers subjects including angel investors, home-based businesses, and startups. The Entrepreneurship Database is searchable, yet it is also organized into a handy list of popular topics, so users can find relevant facts fast.
  • Gale Courses
    Navigate to your library’s website to find Gale Courses, designed to enrich personal learning and provide professional development. Gale Courses can boost your productivity with its resources and guidance in the fields of accounting, finance, computer applications, design, legal needs, writing, and more. Enroll in Gale Courses to virtual classes, earn certifications, and hone your workforce skills.

Virtual Library Tools for Job Seekers

  • Cypress Resume
    A great resume can’t be underestimated, and Cypress Resume eliminates a lot of resume-related guesswork. According to Cypress Resume, over 300,000 library patrons have used their online resume creator. Cypress Resume is an incredibly easy tool. This resource will prompt you with some questions about topics such as your location and work history. Then, it uses your answers to create an attractive resume that you’ll be proud to share.
  • Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center
    When it comes to your career path, it can be difficult to know where to begin. This career database gives an overview of many popular industries and careers, and includes information related to salary levels, education paths, and networking strategies. Utilize this database to explore videos, blogs, articles, and other tools designed to help you make career decisions and succeed in the workplace.
  • Career Preparation Center from EBSCO LearningExpress
    The Career Preparation Center is full of resources for a wide range of job fields, including teaching, law enforcement, nursing, and culinary arts. Use this tool to explore job options and to prepare for workplace entrance exams and build your professional skills.
    (Note: EBSCO Learning Express also includes a Job & Career Accelerator tool which features even more guidance to boost your workplace success.)

Though I’ve listed a few digital library tools which are excellent resources for individuals working from home — or seeking employment while staying in — it’s important to know that these resources are only a tiny sample of what libraries offer. For example, most libraries offer online access to local news publications, allowing you to find job advertisements virtually. To better understand how your library can meet your work-related needs and boost your productivity, I urge you to see for yourself by exploring what your library has to offer.

Many public libraries across the nation, including the library I use, are physically closed at present, but they are still very active and accessible from home. If you currently have questions for your library, I recommend sending an email or taking advantage of library chat features to contact a local librarian for help. I strongly encourage you to rely upon your local library to assist with your work-related and personal growth needs, whether or not you are working remotely.


Stories about libraries and librarians around America.

Laura Kathryn Bright

Written by

Content/SEO writer, former librarian. I post silly stuff for fun. “I earned several degrees so I could stay at home to do what I love and earn very little.” -Me


Stories about libraries and librarians around America. We cover the breadth of experiences that people have through their libraries, and showcase the amazing people who work there.

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