How Library Ebooks Saved My Vacation

How Library Ebooks Saved My Vacation

I was afraid this would happen. My family and I were four days into our vacation to Utah and I was on the last page of the only book I’d brought. The hours of car and plane travel ahead seemed to stretch darkly in front of me. I was about to experience every reader’s nightmare: nothing to read. What to do? Reluctantly, I looked at my iPad and thought of Libby. The free app, offered by my library, could solve my problem but library eBooks weren’t really my thing. Up until now, “Give Me Print!” was always my motto. Even as I showed other people how to download eBooks at the library reference desk, I never made the leap myself. I’m a paper girl, lured by the smell and feel of a book in my hands like small children are drawn to the music of an ice cream truck. But in the middle of the Utah desert, miles away from my library and loathe to spend my souvenir money, I was desperate. “To read or not to read?” was now the question in front of me… and I answered with the click of a button. Within minutes, Libby was on my tablet and my screen was full of shelves upon shelves of digital books. I can’t deny how exciting that was.

My initial plan was to read my chosen eBook until we came home, borrow the print copy, and get rid of any trace of this digital fiasco. This was going to be a temporary solution only. But five weeks later, the Libby app is still there and I’ve gone through three eBooks and one audiobook, proving that I’ve become an digital book convert. Part of my new love for Libby is that carrying a whole library around with me feels both thrilling and powerful, as if I have secret superpowers. If knowledge is everything, then 24/7 access to knowledge is about as good as it gets. I discovered other perks too. The book I wanted was checked out, but I looked through the book lists and found one I’d never heard of before but ended up absolutely loving. And instead of wasting precious time on Facebook when I’m waiting for an oil change or standing in line, I pull out my phone and read. It doesn’t hurt that getting the library eBooks is so darn easy. Choose your library, enter your library card number, done! A few clicks between me and my book is a dream come true.

There’s still a stack of books on my bedside table. I still love to walk up and down the shelves at the library to find my next read or sniff the occasional print book. But with a whole library waiting for me on my phone, I’ll never have to worry about being stuck without a book. What a relief that is.

If you have a library card with a library in Waukesha or Jefferson County, you can download the free Libby app too. Available in the app store, it’s jam-packed with library eBooks and digital audiobooks, so you will always have something to read and listen to! Click on the Wisconsin Digital Library website for more information.

A version of this article appeared in the Waukesha Freeman, the Oconomowoc Enterprise, the Daily Jefferson County Union, and the Watertown Times. We will be sharing those pieces here on our website a few weeks after each piece has been printed.