How to Create a Virtual Library

At the start of the 2020-2021 school year, teachers everywhere had to put their creative hats on and figure out how to accommodate for in-person teaching, remote teaching, or both. Covid-19 threw everyone a curve ball and sanitizing everything became a daily routine, but sanitizing books isn’t as easily said then done. As a result my school’s library temporarily closed. That meant students were not able to touch or look at the any books in our school library.

I still wanted my students to have access and be exposed to a variety of books and genres even if they could not physically hold a book in their hands. I created a virtual space where students had access to books at the touch of their fingers wether they were remote learning from their bedrooms or in-class learning at school.

Step 1: Start with a blank slide show presentation. I use Google Slides for easy sharing with my students.

Design the slide however you seem fit. I wanted my virtual library to reflect my classroom and school library with many shelving units. By incorporating shelves, easy organization of books is simple and uniform.

You can design your slideshow template on Google Slides or another graphic design website like Canva. Canva has a lot of free images that will fit perfectly in your design space. Once designed, you can download and save the template as an image and easily upload that image onto Google Slides.

Include fun and personalized objects to reflect your and your classroom.

Click here for free virtual classroom templates.

Step 2: Find books to include in your virtual library.


  • Epic
  • Youtube
  • Book recordings you create

Step 3: Google Search the book covers, copy and paste onto the slide, and format the picture to fit your space. Repeat.

Step 4: Draw a rectangle shape over each book cover. Set the shape and outline color to transparent. Right click the shape and click link. Insert the URL of the website the book/ recording is found.

I personally use Loom for all my book recordings. All the recordings are collected in my collection and are easily sharable. You can also use Screencastify, Vidyard, or another video platform.

Step 5: OPTIONAL: Make multiple pages featuring different topics, books, and genres. I have a few pages that students can explore such as: homepage, fiction, nonfiction, podcasts, and school library.

Step 6: Include NEXT and BACK buttons either at the top or bottom of your slides. Students will use these to navigate from page to page.

Step 7: If using multiple pages, right click on the slide and make sure “skip slide” is checked. This prevents students from clicking on the slide anywhere and rotating through each page unintentionally.

Step 8: Continue to add new books for students to explore, read, and listen to.

Step 9: When ready to make available to students, press the “share” button in the upper right hand corner. Make sure settings are set to anyone with the link can access this presentation. Copy and paste the link- delete everything up until the /edit- replace edit with the word “present”. This will make the Slideshow present automatically. Students will not be able to edit the presentations.

I created a class website with the presentation link embedded in a button. Students know exactly where to go to access our virtual library.

Step 10: Share via email, Google Site, Seesaw, etc.

I knew that this virtual library could be used for many reasons other than the inability to access books in our school’s library. This is a wonderful resource for listening to reading during our Daily 5 time for ELA. My students who are in special education use this to become stronger readers and follow along as the words are read. Students who just want a good fit book to read or listen to, can use this resource to learn and explore different stories and information.