Stay home in Aspen: Free Rosetta Stone language courses, thousands of movies, e-books, e-magazines available through the Pitkin County Library’s website |

Stay home in Aspen: Free Rosetta Stone language courses, thousands of movies, e-books, e-magazines available through the Pitkin County Library’s website

Andrew Travers


The Pitkin County Library closed on March 15 due to coronavirus, but its staff remains on hand to take phone calls at 970.429.1900 to answer any questions about using its abundant online resources.

• Have a library card? Enter the number to sign in at

• Is your card expired or blocked? The library will renew it for you over the phone.

• Digital apps and resources are listed under the “Download and Stream” tab.

• Some of the library’s apps require you to download them and create an account and pin number, but they’re all free.

You’re staying home during the coronavirus outbreak and, by now, you’ve realized you need to turn off the news for a while. Maybe you’ve spent 30 minutes scrolling through your Netflix queue again with nothing you want to watch. Or you need to unwind after a weird day of working from home. You’ve run out of social distancing-friendly activities for your kids. The wake-and-bake is getting boring.

Whatever your situation, the Pitkin County Library, though it closed to the public March 15, can still be a portal to escape or enlightenment (or both) during Aspen’s community-wide hunker-down.

Its online offerings are massive and free, granting access to more than 100 resources for experiences that extend far beyond e-books. It turns out your library card is a ticket to tens of thousands movies and TV shows, and to any Rosetta Stone or Great Courses series you want to try.

If you don’t have a library card, you can get one over the phone during the public health emergency. Likewise if your card is expired.

Also, no need to worry if you do have a card and you owe late fees. The library board, on March 11, voted to no longer charge overdue fines and to waive any fines on record. You still may have to pay for lost items, but not right now.

“The library needs to be reimbursed for items that are lost, but staff can take a verbal pledge from a person if they can’t get into the library to pay up during these peculiar times,” said library director Kathy Chandler.

These are some of the highlights of resources on the library’s website:


Been meaning to learn a new language? Or brush up on one? Been put off by the hefty Rosetta Stone price tag? The language courses for more than 20 languages are free through the library’s site. A complete course takes about 40 to 50 hours.


Your library card is an all-access pass to the popular Great Courses series, which includes some 700 audio and video courses from leading college professors and experts. Just about anything you’ve ever wanted to know about is covered, from algebra and “The Art of Investing” to “Cooking with Vegetables” and “The Psychology of Performance.” Here you can take a 24-lecture course on Beethoven’s piano sonatas or on dog training, seriously something for everyone.


Two apps, Hoopla and Overdrive, has a massive library of e-books for young readers with more than 350,000 titles. The library has extensive recommended reading lists on its site to help you wade through and make a pick.

Hoopla also provides more than 82,000 audiobooks, 18,000 comics, 14,000 movies and 2,300 TV shows. That’s in addition to the e-book and audiobook offerings in the Overdrive Digital Collection, with more than 29,000 titles.

For younger kids — and for parents of toddlers who’ve run out of things to do — TumbleBooks is a treasure trove specifically for non-readers and beginning readers. It provides read-along services, reading games along with audio and video versions of books.


Home unexpectedly from school and doing distance learning for the first time? Need research to write papers and prep for finals? Check out the Morningstar and Ebsco apps, where the full text of thousands of academic journals and magazines are archived for academic research.


Kanopy has more than 23,500 movies in a curated collection of critically acclaimed indies, documentaries and foreign titles, from recent greats like “Moonlight” and “Lady Bird” to classics like “The Seven Samurai” and “Chinatown.”


The apps Flipster and RB Digital host e-editions of some 3,800 editions of current magazines, from The Advocate to Zest, and including popular magazines like Wired and The Economist. The best part of this collection may be that all the magazines on there (for now) are pre-pandemic. So it’s a serene oasis of reading about your favorite topics without the latest bad news.


If you have any and you dare to look right now, Value Line and Morningstar allow you to track investments.

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