Family LifeFredericksburg ActivitiesOnline ResourcesTechnology September 22, 2020

5 Awesome Online Resources from Central Rappahannock Library

The Alchemy Of The Library

Every time I walk through the doors of the library I am immediately taken back to those formative years as a child when my mom would walk all of us into our local library.  From the Porter’s branch in Stafford to the Spotsylvania branch where Mr. Bond was always there with the perfect recommendation for a book to take me to some magic world, libraries were natural parts of my world. Mr. Bond was great! He was a happy and distinguished man who looked like he should be the captain of some old ship in times past, Mr. Bond was exactly what a library needed.

I devoured books back then. I would spend entire days reading about adventures of times past, those present, and of fantastic worlds in the future.  But books were not the limit of the resources that I digested. To this day I remember my father hanging a white sheet on the wall and loading a filmstrip or movie that we borrowed from the library into the movie projector he had rented. Watching the Little Prince (1974) was a very exciting thing to do in your own home as a little kid. The jiffy-pop popcorn balloning into the tinfoil bubble of awesomeness on the stove was a big treat too! Over time I migrated to audiobooks on cassette tapes, then CDs, VHS videos then DVDs.

Those were awesome times and as enriching as those times were, time and technology have marched on and created new resources and tools and thankfully the Central Rapphannock Regional Library has kept up with those times. Right now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, those resources couldn’t be needed more by many families. The following resources are not the limit of what our library system has to offer, but the ones that I thought maybe the most useful right now.

#1 Lynda For Free

For years I paid hundreds of dollars per year for this treasure trove of education.  Lynda is a fantastic resource for personal development. With over 6,000 video training services on everything from how to use new technology skills to starting that business you’ve been thinking about, Lynda delivers quality training.

Lynda is a great tool to give yourself an upgrade and invest in your own personal development while spending this downtown at home.


Every day I read just a little a few social media posts filled with thinly-veiled panic from parents who are now finding themselves with a little more responsibility for their children’s education than they once had. Virtual learning at home creates questions about fourth-grade fraction reduction math that we all worked super hard to suppress from our memories. And I can only imagine the look on the parent’s face when they are asked for help on that math schoolwork. This is when parents have to finally confess and tell their kids that Santa Clause isn’t real in a hope of distracting their little darling from the fact that said parent doesn’t remember fouth-grade math. (pro-tip go download PhotoMath app.  Trust me, it’ll hook you up with the answers and how to do the problem. You’ll look like a super-smart parent.)

Central Rapphannock Library has your back! is a service through The Princeton Review that has partnered with the library to offer FREE tutoring services from kindergarten to adult!  With over 60 subjects and one-on-one tutoring, this should be your first stop with your kids need a little extra help. also offers career coaching for those adults who are finding themselves unexpectedly needing to polish off that resume and find a new career.

#3 Audio books

Do you love to read, but struggle with the time to do so, do you think audiobooks would be a great solution but yet another subscription service just isn’t in your budget?  Don’t worry, Libby from OverDrive has your back!

OverDrive plays with a free app on any mobile device or tablet and has a partnership with the library to let you check out and listen to any of MILLIONS of audiobooks on their system.

Great way to keep up with awesome literature and that book you’ve been meaning to get to while also doing routine chores or just chilling on the couch.

#4 Rocket Language

Do you want to learn sign language, Spanish, French or any one of 12 other languages for free?  Then go use your library ID and sign in!  RocketLanguage has a partnership with CRRL to get you started and use your downtime wisely!

CRRL also partnered with Mango Languages so that you can download a mobile app and pick up some quick coversational understanding of a new language.  This is also a free service and seems pretty awesome!

#5 Great Courses

I love learning new things so much… There is something about getting a better understanding of history, or how the world works, or how nature works that compels me to want and be a better person.  Knowledge is so important and in this crazy world, we simply don’t take enough time out of our days to really understand things.  It’s time we start learning more and the Great Courses series is perfect for doing just that.

With 100’s of courses, this program allows you to listen to college-level instruction and lecture on everything from history and how the government works to the fundamentals of photography.  I’ve taken several courses and I am in love with the format.  CRRL offers both the audio learning series as well as the video learning series.  Honestly. It’s time well spent. You should treat your mind to something new and make time to learn a little more.

That’s Not All!

CRRL has been doing some awesome virtual reading clubs, book clubs for kids, an ingenious curbside service, phone support, and much more. You should check out their website, subscribe to their newsletter, and follow them on Facebook.  They are constantly cranking out all sorts of goodness. Their website is full of resources, tools, and information that you shouldn’t miss.

In case you don’t remember 1974’s Little Prince…