Online Brisbane library services to enjoy anywhere anytime

Staying in doesn't need to be a bore. Council's libraries have a diverse range of free things to do online - whether you're looking to hit reset on your 'read more' resolution, listen to more genres of music, watch a movie, take up a new hobby or even learn a new skill.

Council’s online library is available 24/7 and offers more than 70,000 e-books and audiobooks, plus streamed music, films and the latest digital magazines and newspapers. It's never been easier to access your favourite books, movies and music. If you don't have time to visit your local library, you can bring the library right to where you are.

E-books – convenience means more time for reading

We understand the comfort of a paperback as much as the next bookworm, but in this day and age, they aren’t the only way to get your next Liane Moriarty or Trent Dalton 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, Et voila! You could be carrying a bunch of e-books around at any time, right on 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: Karen's Birthday by Ann M. Martin
  • For young adults: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
  • For adults: The Bookbinder of Jericho by Pip Williams

Audiobooks - Take a leaf out of a multitasker’s book

Try multi-tasking with an audiobook. Much like an e-book, audiobooks can be downloaded directly to your device - check out the library catalogue, take your pick of the apps and away you go! While away the hours of monotonous housework or procrastinated tasks with a few chapters of the latest James Patterson thriller (or whatever takes your fancy - there are 20,000 audiobooks 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 or your daily walk.

Top celebrity-read picks

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

DIY, download and live-streamed author talks

Thought libraries were all about books? Think again. 

Select from a range of trivia, craft, and science activities for kids designed for enjoyment wherever you may be. There are adult learning resources too.

Can't be in Europe? Bring Europe to your home 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 on the Brisbane Libraries Facebook page

Film and documentary streaming

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

  • Catherine the Great
  • Siz Minutes to Midnight
  • Coda (Director Claude Lalonde)

How to borrow from our online library

It’s super easy to get started. Just visit the the online library catalogue (eLibCat) with your membership card number and PIN on hand and download your picks from various platforms to your phone, tablet or desktop computer. You don't even have to physically return your items when you're done.

For Brisbane residents without an existing library membership, you can apply 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 time and space for three months from the time of sign-up. Of course you are always most welcome to become a member!

For more help with downloading e-content, contact your local library for advice.

24/7 library lockers

If you are still keen on visiting the library in person from time to time, you can use our 24/7 library lockers to collect hold items for your ultimate convenience. 

BNELibraries app

You can also download the BNELibraries app to: 

  • store your library card and barcode and use your virtual library card at library self-checkout machines 
  • search the library catalogue
  • make managing your checkouts and holds easier
  • use the self-service feature to check out books directly from the library shelves
  • view checkouts for the whole family
  • view the latest edition of What’s On in Libraries to find upcoming events. 

This blog was updated in March 2024.

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