Got some time? Check out a book online


Brinda Ambal

Borrowing an E-book is free and easy. So, what are you waiting for?

Checking out an E-book is easier than it seems. Parkway provides every student in the district with a St. Louis County Library card to check out books, and students also get access to the school library’s own collection of E-books. So, what are you waiting for?

Before we begin, an E-book is an online publication of a book. For copyright reasons, there is a set number of copies, and therefore, if a library has three digital copies and all three are checked out, you must place a hold and wait your turn just as you would for a physical copy.

To get your hands on one of these bad boys, you have four options, three of which are free for you. To borrow E-books for free, you can check books out from either the St. Louis County Library’s or the school library’s collections. Your third free option is to download free books from websites like Project Gutenberg, but these sites usually only have books that are so old, they have outlasted U.S. Copyright. Your fourth option is to simply buy your own copy through vendors like Apple Books or Amazon.

You probably aren’t inclined to drop $15 on a physical copy of any old book, let alone a virtual one, and you probably won’t be interested in pleasure reading classics. Therefore, we will focus on the first two options.

To check out books from the St. Louis County Library system, you will visit this website, and log in. If you are a Parkway student, your library card number is 095 followed by your seven-digit student number, and your pin is 1234. Now you can browse their copies, check out books, and read them either directly in your browser or through the Overdrive app on your phone or other handheld device.

You can also download the Overdrive app or their newer, more interactive app Libby, to browse, borrow and download county library books directly from your phone or tablet. I prefer this method as I am far more likely to convince myself to simply switch apps when I’m about to scroll Instagram, rather than put down my phone, boot up a laptop and look for a book. While the Libby app is geared toward a new generation and includes lots of cool, new features like an assistant that “texts” with you, I personally prefer the original Overdrive app, which gets straight to the point.

To check out books from our school library, access the online library catalog, search for a book or scroll down to E-books and browse them all. When you find a book you like, click on the blue “Log in” button, click on “Sign in with Google,” and then check it out. Once you have it checked out, click the blue “Open” button to read the book directly in your browser. 

I personally prefer using the county library’s software, as it is newer, more user friendly and enables you to read E-books from your phone or tablet instead of just from your browser. They also have a wider selection of texts, even though the school library features books more geared toward a high school audience.

Now that you know how to do it, here are some books you can read to get a jump start.

Books to Check Out Online