Epic online library services to enjoy from your loungeroom

Being stuck at home doesn’t need to be a bore. Council's libraries have a diverse range of online offerings - whether you're looking to hit reset on your 'read more' resolution, take up a new hobby, or even learn a new skill.

Council’s free online library is available 24/7 for users and offers more than 70,000 e-book and audiobook titles, plus streamed music, films and the latest digital magazine and newspaper titles – meaning even if you can’t leave the house, you can bring the library (including awesome books, movies and music) right to your living room.

Visit the library catalogue (eLibCat) to get started. For residents without an existing membership, you can apply online for a free temporary digital membership.

Download and DIY

It's never been easier (or cheaper) to take up a new hobby. The libraries' free online offerings aren't just limited to e-books. Select from a range of trivia, craft, and science activities for kids designed for enjoyment in your own home. There are adult learning resources too.

Can't be in Europe? Bring Italy to your loungeroom and learn a new language. Council library members have free access to Mango Languages - downloadable on your phone or personal device from the App Store or Google Play, so you can learn at the pace you'd like, wherever you are. Challenge your family members to join you on your journey to becoming multi-lingual (or keep it to yourself and enjoy the language envy instead!).

If you're craving human interaction, enjoy live-streamed author talks via the Brisbane Libraries Facebook page.

E-books – the perfect lockdown activity

Reading can be an escape from worry and uncertainty. It can help quieten our minds and unwind from stress or anxiety that may be dished up by the ‘outside world’.

We understand the comfort of a paperback as much as the next book worm, but in this day and age, they aren’t the only way to get your next Harry Potter fix, with e-books at their peak of popularity. Accessing great reads from Council’s online library is as easy as the click of a button, and voila – you could be carrying a bunch of e-books around at any time, right from your personal device.

As well as e-books being free and convenient, we have more than 52,000 titles to choose from. And better yet, it’s quick and easy to find what you’re after.

Top e-book reads

  • For kids: Guts by Raina Telgemeier
  • For young adults: A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas
  • For adults: Survivors by Jane Harper

Take a leaf out of a multitasker’s book

For those looking to take up a new lockdown hobby, multi-task with an audiobook.  Much like an e-book, audiobooks can be downloaded directly to your device using several platforms and away you go (check out the library catalogue and take your pick of the apps!). While away the monotonous housework or procrastinated tasks with a few chapters of the latest James Patterson thriller (or whatever takes your fancy - there are 19,350 audiobook titles to choose from). These are ideal for someone on the go or looking to multitask. Bonus points to these for being the perfect way to unwind during a home workout.

Top celebrity-read picks

  • Stephen Fry - the Harry Potter series
  • Meryl Streep - Heartburn
  • Reese Witherspoon - Go Set the Watchman

eLibrary and chill

Thought libraries were all books? Think again. Grab your favourite cinema snack and hunker down for a night of movies and documentaries, courtesy of Beamafilm, Council libraries’ film and documentary streaming platform. With big names like Cate Blanchett and Colin Firth among the mix, it’s hard to pass up a free movie night. The platform has an impressive range of documentaries too – whether you’re a clean and green warrior, a space enthusiast, or into French street art, there’s something for all.

Top free streaming picks

  • Paper Planes
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • A French Village (Un Village Francais)

How to get in on the eLibrary fun

It’s super easy to get downloading – all you’ll need is your membership number, and in some cases, an email address. You can download the apps directly to your phone, tablet or desktop computer and get started, or read about the different free platforms on offer.

How to apply for a digital library membership

Not a member yet? Sign up online for a free temporary digital library membership! Digital library membership provides Brisbane residents with access to our eResource collection from the comfort of your own home for three months from the time of sign-up.

How to borrow from our online library

Getting started is simple. Search the online library catalogue with your membership card number and PIN on hand and download your picks from various platforms, dodging the need to physically return your items when you’re done. If you still need help with downloading e-content, then contact your local library for advice.

What to do with your physical library books

We have extended due dates for all returns to beyond lockdown. That means time for a re-read! 

This blog was updated in August 2021.

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Date posted:
Last updated: 17 August 2021
Topics: things to do