Got an e-card and an e-book in your "electronic wallet"?
The Free Library of Philadelphia is hosting a special sign-up event on Wednesday for its new Virtual Library Card, a promotional show-and-tell at the Municipal Services Building with Library President and Director Siobhan A. Reardon and in-house tech support team.
But the irony here – and the message they'll spread – is that you no longer need to go anywhere, not even to a Library branch, to score a Virtual Library Card. The whole process can be accomplished in as little as 90 seconds just by taking your internet-accessing self (and device) to http://freelibrary.org/anywhere/.
That little bit of effort reaps all sorts of rich rewards. No newcomers to digital licensing and electronic distribution of content, the Free Library of Philadelphia has amassed a catalogue of nearly 120,000 streaming or downloadable e-books (including many best sellers and niche/genre titles) and 19,000 streaming or downloadable audio books. All yours for free, virtual borrowing in one-to-three week time spans, for enjoying on a dedicated e-book (Kindle, Nook), multi-purpose tablet, a laptop or desktop computer or a smart phone.
Even lighter content - long "hard copy" exclusives - are now available in digital forms via on line check-outs, including more than 19,000 videos (think Ken Burns documentaries, Muppet movies, "Silver Linings Playbook" et al) and a variety of digital magazines from US Weekly to The Economist.
The Virtual Library also stockpiles 1,000 audio podcasts from the Free Library's Author Events Series – so listeners can belatedly connect with the celebrity authors/newsmakers from those sold-out soirees.
Even the Library's in-house staff of educational helping hands are available via the Virtual Card – to offer live, one-on-one tutoring or share practice SAT and GED tests, career guidance resources and more.
All that's available with a free virtual (or paper) Free Library card to anyone who lives, works, pays taxes or goes to school in the city of Philadelphia as well as anyone who lives in the state of Pennsylvania.
BTW - The same card number also unlocks computers and free Wi-Fi at all neighborhood libraries.
Learn more and sign up by visiting with library staffers Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the MSB's Concourse Level (Arch Street Entrance), 1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd. or by tapping in at freelibrary.org.