When I was a kid, my mom would take us to the library once a week or so to pick out a new book to read. It’s a memory I cherish and I think about it every time I step foot in the library. It’s been odd not to be able to do that recently, but the library is still alive and well — digitally!
A few years ago, my husband bought me a new e-reader. I ended up mainly using it to stream shows and movies because it was too big to hold and read in bed. I’d get home from work in the wee hours of the morning and just play games on my phone in the dark until I fell asleep. Not ideal, since before starting the night shift I would fall asleep reading. I listened to an episode of NPR’s Life Kit podcast a few months ago that changed things for me. It was all about how to read more books, which felt silly but it helped.
One of the tips was to read books on your phone. When you’re in line waiting, read a book. When you want to check social media, read a book. For me, when I got home from work and decided to wind down for the night (morning?), I’d pick up my phone and read a book. Yes, I KNOW you aren’t supposed to use your phone before sleeping but I’m not perfect and it works for now.
Instead of buying e-books I decided to browse for apps that allowed me to use my library card. The two I use most are Libby and Hoopla. Both require you to sign up using your library card. If you don’t have a library card, I know that my local library is offering online sign-ups for temporary cards during the statewide lockdown restrictions right now, so that may be something to look into.
Libby is a great library app. You can browse which titles are available — both audio and e-books and place holds on the ones that aren’t. Sometimes you may have to wait for a title if a lot of readers are checking out the same book (I once waited a few months for a book). The check out and hold limits differ by library, I believe. The borrow time for each book through my library on Libby is 14 days. The app is pretty great for new content and I’ve been surprised by what I’ve been able to find.
Another app I use ALL THE TIME is Hoopla. It’s connected to your library card, just like Libby. What I like about Hoopla is you have a bigger checkout limit and there is no wait for content. You can favorite books, movies, audiobooks that you’d like to check out later and it’s a super easy app to navigate. It doesn’t always have everything, but it has a lot. For instance, I found a collection of Italian-American poetry and prose that I’ve been searching high and low for. Hoopla also lets you borrow for 21 days, which I love because it takes me a bit to get through books sometimes.
I’ve borrowed audiobooks from both apps and it’s a great supplement for apps that require a monthly subscription. Both apps are totally free, which speaks to me!
I can’t wait to walk into my local library again, but these will do the job for now. What are you reading from the library?