Changes Coming to Our Electronic Resources and Databases

By Jamie W. RSS Wed, May 15, 2013

In our continual effort to better serve you, a team of librarians has recently taken a fresh look at our many electronic resources and databases, and has recommended some changes. Public library services have shifted dramatically over the past few years, with not only greatly reduced budgets but also a growth in the information you can connect to online.  Ultimately, we recognize that our electronic databases must be relevant to your needs and provide the excellent library service you deserve.

To that end we will no longer be subscribing to a small selection of our current databases. But don’t worry—we’ve got you covered! The vast majority of the content available in these databases is also available in similar form at and through other free resources, like Pennsylvania’s PowerLibrary. 

The databases we will no longer be subscribing to include:

  • Freegal (ending as of June 1)
  • EBSCOhost, which includes MasterFile Premier, Middle Search Plus, Primary Search, ERIC, Novelist Plus, and Novelist K-8 Plus (ending as of July 1)
  • Dun & Bradstreet’s Million Dollar Database (ending as of August)

These changes will allow us to focus more on the types of services you value most and continue to be a library that is responsive to your needs.  In the coming days and weeks, we’ll be posting a helpful series of blogs that details just where you can find all the information you need, so check back often to learn how you can maximize your Free Library experience.

To get you started, read our post on Freegal and the many digital music resources available to you through the Free Library and online!

 As always, we welcome your feedback.

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I am not happy that you are ending FREEGAL. I have been able to own much music though their access that I cannot get otherwise. Will what you then offer be able to give me permanent right to music tracks? And what does it cost the FREELIBRARY to link to FREEGAL?
Rande - Philadelphia
Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hi Rande, Thanks for your comment. We understand that losing access to Freegal will indeed result in our offering less music that you can download and keep permanently. We do feel though, that given the constraints of our budget and the breadth of what is now available for free online, that this is the right choice for the Free Library. We hope you will give some of those other options a try.
Jamie W - Philadelphia
Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Like Rande, I'm unhappy at losing this service. I only discovered it a few weeks ago and there is so much to explore. Nothing else that you've mentioned begins to match that service, particularly that the music is ours to keep. I am very very disappointed about this. I hope that you will keep note that this is a service that people would like to see resumed if/when budget permits. What else is available for free online that matches this?
Terry - Elkins Park
Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Thanks again for your feedback, Terry and Ronde. One of Freegal's distinctions is that this service allowed people to keep downloaded tracks. This, however, is not our usual service model -- we lend materials for our cardholders to borrow. It was an experiment that we find we can no longer support in our budget. We hope you will try out some of the amazing sites out there that do provide free access to a very wide range of music. Those sites were not available when we first began subscribing to Freegal, but the times have changed.
Jamie W - Philadelphia
Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hi Jamie, what are those sites? I'm not familiar with them. Can you give us at least some examples? Thank you.
Terry - Elkins Park
Friday, May 17, 2013

Hi Terry - take a look at our post on internet music for suggestioned sites:
Jamie W - Philadelphia
Monday, May 20, 2013

Has this service ended early? Your post says it ends June 1 but Freegal is now saying my library number is not a valid credential. I'm signing in the same way I have up til now. Is something wrong? Please advise. I'd hate to lose the last week of the service.
Terry - Elkins Park
Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hi Terry - June 1 is the end of the subscription. If you can't get in, double check your library card number and PIN, and contact us if you need more help. The contact link is at the top right of this page or just copy and paste the following into your browser:
Jamie W - Philadelphia
Friday, May 24, 2013

Hi, Will there be an alternate offering of digital music if Freegal and these other databases are no longer available? Thanks!
Lan - Philadelphia
Saturday, May 25, 2013

I like alot of classic rock that this site doesn't have so I was just finding some good stuff (oldies and such) to download. I can certainly see why it would not be a priority since its ownership which isn't the library model. I just wish there was some way to borrow where it was still portable no internet access needed but could be turned in at the end of the checkout like a real cd.
Doris W - out of state paid borrower
Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"In our continual effort to serve you better..." we've decided to serve you worse. What a crock. Did you give us the information at the start this was an experimental program? Did you explain the cost structure when this program was introduced? Did you give us adequate notice Freegal was to be dropped? Do you think you need a refresher course in public relations?
Joe - Philadelphia
Monday, June 3, 2013

When in began to Freegal I began to donate. I too would be glad to pay for this service.
Monday, June 3, 2013

I miss Freegal already! I'm really bummed out over your decision to sever ties with Freegal! Is there anyway that the Free Library can bring my beloved program back? What can I do as a library patron to help you reinstate the Freegal program?
Jimmy - Philadelphia
Monday, June 3, 2013

What a SHAME, I will miss Freegal. I actually find a service provided through the City Of Philadelphia which turns out to be an amazing benefit, and it is gone. Like many others state, streaming is only perfect when an internet connection exists. Or, is only good until your playlist is invalid when services are changed again!
Steve - Phila
Monday, June 3, 2013

Please explain how you've "got us covered." Your comment is misleading since the content may be available but, in a "similar" format. I have to agree with Joe that this is a crock. I understand the economics of the decision but, it would be refreshing to hear the truth without doublespeak. As a member of the Free Library of Philadelphia, I would just like to know if we are able to download music from any other library site. I was unable to get anywhere with the Pa Power Library System.
Steve - Phila
Monday, June 3, 2013

Hey Joe, do you think you could express yourself like an adult like the rest of us are doing, instead of like a five-year-old having a temper tantrum?
Chuck - Germantown
Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Wow! Freegal was the best thing to happen to The Free Library's website. I was so excited when I found out about it and couldn't wait each week to download my music. I enjoyed searching the catalog and was amazed at the depth of material we had access to. I couldn't speak more highly of Freegal and told everyone I knew about the "cool" thing The Free Library was offering. My weeks will be empty without it....
Donna - philadelphia
Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Noooo! Not Freegal! I loved finding new songs. But then I don't have any idea how much it cost, and we all know the libraries aren't getting much budget love these days. Thanks for the tunes while it lasted. Listening to some good past Freegal downloads right now.
Libraryish - Germantown
Thursday, June 6, 2013

But wait! EBSCOhost, too? That's a pretty serious research tool for a library to drop. Please post about alternatives to that, too- I'm sure I'm not alone in needing to do academic research but lacking access to a university's system.
Libraryish - Germantown
Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hello Libraryish - Thanks for your thoughtful comments regarding Freegal. We will be posting about alternatives to EBSCOhost before that subscription ends on 6/30/13. In brief though, we will primarily be directing researchers to the EBSCOhost platform provided by the Commonwealth through Power Library (MasterFile Main Edition as opposed to the MasterFile Premier edition we currently offer) as well as our suite of 10 Gale databases.
Jamie W - Philadelphia
Thursday, June 6, 2013

Say it isn't so :(
Jan - Philadelphia
Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Free Library needs to evolve with time. It is as if the Free Library of Philadelphia just wants to become irrelevant. Times are changing; Therefore, the library needs to have a bigger presence online. Taking away a service like Freegal takes the library back to the late 1990s. The only way I can currently receive music via the library is borrowing a CD! Seriously, who still checks out CDs anyway? Get with the times.
Kate - Philadelphia
Sunday, June 9, 2013

we are members of the library; however, we pay for that as we are out of state. This liabrary was one of the few that offered paid membership for people that didn't live in the area of their library. We will not be renewing after several years as Freegal is gone, this is one of the things that attracted me to the site. I have online download, but we like the availability to be able to use Freegal music with other devices and not be attached to the internet.
Lynn - out of state
Sunday, June 9, 2013

I will miss this service, as well. However, I realize the library only gets so much money. In a choice between providing people with free music downloads or buying books for little children in inner city neighborhoods, I hope the choice is obvious to all of us. Let's keep our priorities in order--especially you people who don't even live in Philadelphia or even in Pennsylvania.
Judith - Philadelphia
Monday, June 10, 2013

I will really miss it. I had a problem with my computer and lost all my downloads. Is there anyway that I can get a few of the latest ones that I downloaded?
Nancy - Erie, PA
Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hi Nancy - I understand your frustration. Unfortunately, we no longer have access to Freegal or your previous downloads. You might continue trying to recover them from your system. Sorry for the inconvenience. Good luck!
Jamie W - Philadelphia
Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I am highly disappointed that the service is no longer available. It was a great resource for Christmas songs from all over the world and it allowed you to listen to the music and make choice. I hope the library might bring the service back. American Music is really not my cup-of-tea. Also there should have been an email telling of the change to allow users at least try to get in and find something before the service stop. Thank you again.
joe k. - NE Philly
Thursday, June 13, 2013

It appears that EVERYONE that was using this site was using FREELEGAL, and you pulled the plug. Now let's see if you are WILLING to listen to the stream of complaints that you are getting! FREELEGAL, and OVERDRIVE are the only reasons that I use this site, so now this site is nearly obsolete and useless to me, which means that there is truly no reason for me to think that the site is a valid budget option for your organization at all. I'm sure that many of us would gladly pay a small subscription service to utilize FREELEGAL, but seeing as you did not decide to discuss this change with any of your users, I suppose you don't care.
Mark - Philadelphia
Monday, June 24, 2013

Just want to offer some support for the library in regards to Freegal. I always thought it was kind of odd that the library was in effect purchasing a small amount music for ownership--instead of following standard practice of buying large quantities of media to LEND to the public. I'm guessing that Freegal was charging more per song than it would cost the library to buy more music in album form to then lend out. (Maybe shouldn't be saying this, but haven't any of the other people commenting heard of ripping CDs? can STILL own the music if you really want to..)
Norm - Philadelphia
Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wow!! I'm very disappoint about this. I truly wish you all would have came to us (your loyal users) & told us you were having trouble. I'm sure we all could have helped to keep this program going. I know for a fact I would have. I continually donate to your library so these wonderful programs can continue. Please tell me, where does these donations go if your dropping these great programs!! Frustrated
Jody - out of state
Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Freegal was a great service. I was extremely disappointed when it ended. It gave me a chance to listen to music that I wouldn't ordinarily get through iTunes or other music services. Please Philly Library, bring Freegal back!
Brian - Philadelphia
Tuesday, July 30, 2013