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New eResources and Upgrades

logos for four new databases:, SOLARO, Pronunciator and Creativebug

Dec 23, 2020

This year, our world changed. It has been a year that challenged organizations worldwide to find new ways to deliver services, and OPL was no exception.

We are striving to contribute to our community, respond to our customer’s needs, and reduce barriers to access. We are glad to present our holiday gift basket, which includes four newly added eResources and upgraded features for three Naxos databases, to our valuable customers.

Among the four new eResources:

  • brings you some of the best live classical music shows from the world’s most prestigious venues, and lets you watch thousands of concerts, operas, ballets, documentaries, and master classes.
  • SOLARO helps students learn outside of school to supplement what they learn at school
  • Creativebug keeps your hands active and your mind engaged with arts and crafts 
  • Pronunciator provides personalized courses to help you learn any language in your familiar mother tongue

We hope all or, at least one of these eResources, will become one of your favorites.

Here are some more details about these newly added eResources, and upgrade features of three Naxos databases:

  1. | EDU

The world's premier resource for classical music videos, it gives you unlimited and simultaneous access to stunning live events streamed every year from the world’s most prestigious venues. Plus, it offers thousands of concerts, operas, ballets, documentaries, master classes, and many more films from the 1940s through to the present day. Available on all digital devices anytime, anywhere.

Don’t forget to check the Event Calendar for live events streamed from the world’s most prestigious concert halls, opera houses, festivals, and competitions.

Add the Nutcracker, the Mouse King Ballet shows, and the Liege Royal Philharmonic’s New Year’s Concert to your calendar and save the date now!

For families with children, choose from 18 classical music pieces; watch Marin Alsop conducts Benjamin Britten's The Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra. This is a delightful introduction to the four sections of the orchestra and gives each instrument in the orchestra a chance to shine!


2020 has been a difficult year for all of us, especially for parents with children learning at home due to COVID-19. OPL is happy to offer SOLARO to help your child.

SOLARO offers students a safe and reliable learning environment with resources that support their daily schooling needs. Students can use these resources at school, home, or even on the go! SOLARO takes a proactive approach to your child’s education by continuing the learning process outside of school hours. SOLARO offers students and their parents several ways to support the learning process:

  • Students can access full sets of lessons covering core concepts, use building tools such study notes and flash cards.
  • Practice with quizzes and tests to identify strengths and weaknesses and review detailed solutions to every completed practice question.

All learning content and subjects (English, Mathematics, Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics) from Grade 3 to Grade 12 are aligned to Ontario Curriculum.

After a student has set up an account, they can invite their parent(s) to join. The video link below shows how that works.

The parent account has access to several reports showing your child’s progress. Parents can see their children’s quiz and test scores, the lessons they have completed, and their overall activity.

We compared this resource to Unfortunately, IXL is not currently open to the public library market, meaning as a public library, OPL cannot subscribe to this resource for its customers. 

So far, SOLARO is the best choice in the study guide and exam preparation market for non-adult learners for grades 3 to 12.

We hope SOLARO will help our children study better and faster especially during the provincial shutdown period.

  1. Creativebug

If you’re stuck at home, maybe try learning how to paint, knit, or sew from the OPL’s newly added Creativebug database. Creativebug offers thousands of award-winning arts & crafts free video classes and workshops. They are all taught by recognized design experts and artists.

Keep your hands active and your mind engaged with Creativebug. We know many of our customers are used to finding arts and crafts information on YouTube and Pinterest, so it took time to search, compare, and evaluate resources to find a high-quality one. Customers won’t need to waste their time and they can just browse Creativebug to find what they need in a second. All videos are completely ad-free. 

  1. Pronunciator

Pronunciator is unique in offering personalized courses (based on any of 60 occupations) in any of 163 languages, and instruction in any of 146 home languages.

Pronunciator has the world’s largest collection of interactive language-learning resources, the world’s largest ESL courses, the world’s largest collection of language-learning audio lessons (12,000,000 and counting); the world’s largest American Sign Language course (20,000 instructional videos); and the world’s only Mexican Sign Language video course. It also includes ProCitizen, comprehensive preparation for the Canadian citizenship test.

  1. New upgrades to three Naxos databases

The streaming sound quality of Naxos Music Library, Naxos Music Library Jazz, and Naxos Music Library World previously was Standard Sound Quality (128kbps). Now just in time for the holiday season, it had been upgraded to Premium Sound Quality (320kbps). You can listen to Naxos music with a much nicer experience.

320kbps is the highest streaming bitrate for .MP3 files. Kindly take note that VBR encoding produces an overall higher and more consistent quality level than Constant Bit Rate encoding. Variable Bit Rate (VBR) is an encoding method that ensures consistent high audio quality throughout an encoded file by making intelligent bit-allocation decisions during the encoding process. The resulting audio files have comparable acoustic quality while requiring less bandwidth and processing resources.

I hope you all have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season, and that our new eResources will bring holiday cheer!


Appreciated, but missing Freegal

The effort by the OPL in the online domain is highly appreciated. What all of these services have in common is that they require a permanent Internet connection while using them. Even with multiple devices at home this is not always practical (because of the nature of devices, not Internet provider). And the high bit rate of the Naxos streaming service can really be appreciated only if the device is connected to high quality speakers, again not always practical. The discontinued Freegal service allowed limited downloading of music, much of it at the second-best but very good rate of 256kbps. Then the music can be enjoyed through a good sound system without worrying about the Internet connection. Streaming services are used and appreciated. But I would urge the OPL to review their use and reconsider Freegal for those patrons who prefer the traditional model of borrowing/downloading items. In fact, Freegal vs. CDs should also be reviewed, due to the very limited choices in the CD catalogue.

Missing Freegal Music Subscription

I have only praise for all the services offered by the OPL and I want to thank all the wonderful and always friendly OPL staff who are working during these trying times of the pandemic making the library a safe place to visit. I can’t thank them enough. As mentioned by OPL client Smarjano, I also miss Freegal. I enjoyed downloading music from Freegal to my iPod and listening to these songs while going on my walks around my neighbourhood. It was always stimulating finding my weekly 5 songs, usually from artists that I remember when I was growing up. Please consider renewing this service. My best to all for 2021.

Thank you for your comments and suggestions

Thank you for your comments about the Freegal music service that OPL had subscribed to for several years. We are pleased that you made good use of it and regret any inconvenience. During the time that Freegal was part of OPL’s collection, we promoted it in direct campaigns, on social media, and on the OPL website over several years. It never grew in usage – people seem to find their music in other way these days. Freegal’s high annual fee to OPL could no longer be justified given the low usership, and other music streaming available via OPL and elsewhere. OPL provides Naxos and Hoopla music streaming services from our website. For Hoopla, customers can stream or temporarily download up to four (4) complete music albums per month and can be borrowed for seven (7) days. The temporary download feature is available exclusively on mobile devices through the app. We apologize for the inconvenience to OPL customers who were Freegal users. Be assured that we are always on the lookout for affordable and attractive resources that many Library customers will be interested in. We just added brings you some of the best live classical music shows from the world’s most prestigious venues, and lets you watch thousands of concerts, operas, ballets, documentaries, and master classes. We just upgraded the streaming sound quality of Naxos Music Library, Naxos Music Library Jazz, and Naxos Music Library World from previously Standard Sound Quality (128kbps) to Premium Sound Quality (320kbps). You can listen to Naxos music with a much nicer experience. Thank you again for your understanding and for taking full advantage of the eResources OPL makes available with our customer’s greatest benefit, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness top-of-in mind.


I am very disappointed that you have stopped FREEGAL at OPL.