Make Sure Your School Supply List Includes a Library Card This Year

Written by Lisa Mauch, Content Specialist, Marketing Department, Downtown Main Library

"School days, school days, dear old Golden Rule days…" goes the old song. And while kids are still learning "readin’ and ’ritin’ and ’rithmetic" the classroom tools they need have changed. Besides packing pencils, rulers, and a lunch, parents need to provide digital resources for young students to succeed.

That’s where your local library comes in.

There’s a wide assortment of online resources available to students and parents to help them achieve during the school year. And it all starts with your Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library card, the most essential school supply. If you don’t have one already, learn how to get a card. There are even special cards for kids, teens, and educators (which includes homeschooling parents).

And here’s what you’ll get access to with that library card:


Do your kids balk at getting off their devices to read a physical book? No problem. Download plenty of reading material to those devices with OverDrive Kids, opens a new window, TumbleBooks, opens a new window, and Scholastic BookFlix, opens a new window.

Or come into your local branch to access ABC Mouse, opens a new window. It offers an award-winning curriculum that is designed to help young children (ages 2–7+) build a strong foundation for academic success. provides more than 4,000 learning activities across all major subject areas including reading, math, science, social studies, art, and music.

Academic Support

Does new math have you turned around? Need to use Alexa to find out what year Mt. Vesuvius erupted? There's an easier way to help your kid with their homework. Students of all ages (even adults) can get live online homework help, skills-building, writing assistance, test prep help, and more from expert tutors at Homework HelpNow.

Students also can receive in-person, one-on-one homework help in reading, math, physics, even Latin at select library branches. For times, days, and branches offering walk-in Homework Help, go to the Homework page.

Nothing helps students pay attention in school and hunker down to get homework done better than a full stomach. Free meals are available Mondays through Fridays after school for kids and teens at select Library locations starting Monday, Aug. 14. Learn where and when to go on the free meals webpage.

At-Home Activities

The Library’s YouTube channel playlists are a good resource for homeschooling parents, or any parent looking for more educational entertainment for their kids. Library videos range from Storytimes at Home to STEM at Home.

Looking for in-person activities? Stop by the Library’s calendar for events that take place at your favorite local branch.

Sora App for Digital Devices

There are so many resources and apps to use with your library cards, but there’s also one where no card is required. It’s Sora, opens a new window, an app designed for schools. With Sora, students and staff can download books and audiobooks to their devices. School districts set Sora up and control its content and parameters.

More than 90 public and private schools already participate, including select Cincinnati Public Schools, Mariemont City Schools, Mount Healthy City Schools, North College Hill City Schools, Oak Hills Local Schools, Three Rivers Local School District, and Winton Woods Schools. If your school district isn’t signed up yet, urge them to visit our Student Cards page for more details.

Also, Sora users can add the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library to their app to access more than 45,000 titles from our collection along with whatever titles your school or district provides. Students and staff can access the CHPL collection using their school ID.

Know an educator in Hamilton County? Tell them about our teacher collection service. With two weeks' notice, our Outreach Services department staff will prepare a collection of titles (books, audiobooks, or eBooks) for your classroom.

Keep up with the latest family-friendly news at the Library on the Kids & Families webpage.