Skip to content

Portable Magic: Books Anywhere, Anytime

woman listening to an audiobook on her phone

In his memoir, On Writing, bestselling author Stephen King describes books as “a uniquely portable magic.” Books are a way through which people can forget about the stresses of everyday life, escape to a different world or learn about something new. Now, books are even more portable with options to download e-books and audiobooks onto your smartphone – for free – using your library card.

With a Menomonee Falls Public Library card, readers can borrow e-books and audiobooks in a few simple steps. You don’t even have to visit the library – it can all be done at home so long as you already have a library card. (Don’t have a card? Find out how to get one here) First, download the Libby app from the Apple Store or Google Play. Second, open the app and select Bridges Library System, then Menomonee Falls Public Library. Enter your library card number and begin browsing! 

Readers can borrow 10 books at a time and place 10 books on hold. There are thousands of titles to choose from – ranging from current bestsellers, classic award-winners, mysteries, romance, to historical fiction. For children and teens, there are collections with age-appropriate books just for them. 

Libby can deliver e-books to a phone, tablet or Kindle. For audiobooks, listeners can use headphones, a Bluetooth speaker or a car stereo. Users of the app find it perfect for listening to books while commuting, driving to the cabin, walking the dog, and cleaning the house – truly anywhere and anytime!

Digital books are returned automatically on their due dates, eliminating any worry about late fees. Using Libby also saves readers money by avoiding costly subscriptions or paying for individual audiobooks. On Audible – an Amazon service – a single audiobook can cost upwards of $25. If you read two books per month, that adds up to be $600 a year – a number almost as frightening as a Stephen King novel.

Another option is to borrow a Playaway audiobook from the library. Playaways are small, portable devices powered by a battery and are preloaded with a single audiobook. No internet connectivity is needed, making them simple to use. Parents like these because they are a great way to reduce screen time – kids listening to a book on a smartphone may be tempted to play games or watch YouTube instead. It’s also great for grandparents or people who might not own a smartphone. The library has an expansive collection of Playaway devices for readers of all ages.

Some will always prefer physical books as their “uniquely portable magic,” but give Libby a try – you might just be surprised! If you have any questions about getting started with digital e-books and audiobooks, staff at Menomonee Falls Public Library are happy to help.