Written by Kelly Sheehy, Content Specialist, Downtown Main Library  
With all K-12 schools in the state of Ohio closed by the governor’s order to help suppress the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, many parents and caregivers are scrambling to find activities to keep their kids educated and entertained. 

While the Library may be closed to the public until further notice, our eBranch provides many ways to help kids fight boredom and engage their minds: 

Watch a virtual storytime  
If your child’s a Library storytime regular, then this is the next best thing. We’ve created our own collection of storytime videos featuring our Children’s Librarians who are recording new videos this week! Check them out at any time on our YouTube channel

Read your Library books 
We’ve waived fines for physical materials customers have checked out at the moment, through at least April 3. It’s the perfect opportunity to read that Library book your kid loved another 10 times! Sit down, cuddle up, read, and repeat!  
Get crafty 
CreativeBug offers tons of online video DIY tutorials (for adults, too!) and you can access all of them for free with your Library card. You‘ll turn your home into creativity central in no time!  
Get help with homework, study guides, or open up a virtual study room with friends

Most schools are requiring students to continue their education remotely, which means that homework is still a thing. But, thanks to BrainFuse, they’ll have access to online help for any questions they encounter that you can’t help with (we get it, it’s been a minute since you did long division). Students can set up virtual study rooms, meet as groups through the platform, and create online study aids like flashcards.  
Download an eBook  
Re-read all the books in your house one too many times? Download something new! OverDrive Kids has tons of options that are available with just the click of a button, and on any device. OverDrive Kids also has audiobooks!  
Let a book read to them 
What’s more fun than a book that reads to you? On Book Flix, kids can enjoy streaming versions of classic storybooks. Each storybook is paired with related nonfiction titles. Our other free storybook platform, TumbleBooks, offers animated talking picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, French and Spanish books, math stories, educational games and puzzles, and National Geographic videos. Kids can learn and have fun at the same time, which is a win in our book (pun intended).  
Stream some cartoons and kids shows 
Whether your kid is a massive Daniel Tiger fan or can’t get enough Sesame Street, there are shows and movies galore on Kanopy Kids, and the best part is that they’re free with your Library card! You can also find animated storybooks, history shorts, and videos for learning other languages.
Have a dance party  
Push the furniture against the wall and make room for a dance floor! The fun playlists on Freegal Music include tons of songs that will make any kid want to bust a move or two.   
Research your family tree

Our Library provides free access to a wealth of databases for researching your genealogical history. Sit down with your child and have them help you create a family tree and see what you uncover about your family that even you may not have known.

Update: Ancestry Library is now available remotely to all Library cardholders through April 2020, courtesy of  ProQuest and its partner Ancestry. Visit and enter your Public library card number to access Ancestry Library.

For questions and personalized assistance about genealogical history, email

Check out your old yearbook 

Did you know the Library has a digital yearbook database? Pull up yours, your parents, or your even your grandparents and show your kids! Then help them create a yearbook page of their own with photos of friends and family. 

Take a peek into the past 

The Digital Library is filled with relics from Cincinnati's past. You can look at old children's books or vintage posters from local events and attractions. Let your child explore and then have them create their own posters or book illustrations based on what they found.

Bonus idea: Teens can join an eSports community online 

The North America Scholastic eSports Federation offers a Community Club for teens with special programming while schools are closed. 

For the latest Library service updates and resources, please visit our COVID-19 resource page

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