‘You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.’
Back in my teaching days I had this printed and hung up in my classroom. There was never a truer quote for me, and it was made all the more special for its providence, in a writer who took so much of his inspiration from the beauty of the Northern Irish landscape.
Nowadays, I’ve sadly got out of the habit of reading so vociferously. I tend to save it all up for holiday periods and, even then, am often overwhelmed by the amount of choice that there is in the literary market. At the beginning of this year I set myself a goal to read more intently and to choose it as an option over watching TV mindlessly or getting lost in the black hole of social media.
So far, so good and, whilst I’m a far cry from having a whole library under my belt, I’m on book number four of the year and really enjoying the whole process of it again.
So when Libraries NI asked me to take a look at their free online lending service I was delighted to do so. There is absolutely no catch in this – no fees, no sign-up charges, no fines. My eyes were completely opened to a whole new world of books, magazines and audio books and I feel so passionately about shouting about it now. If there’s a way to inspire more reading, then using this service is it!
It is so simple to create an account (and if you have an existing Library membership number you’re well on the way already!) Then you can get started! I downloaded both the Overdrive and RBDigital apps onto my phone and tablet. Overdrive is used to access the library audio and ebooks (over seventeen thousand of them!) and we’ve used it lots in the past, particularly on road trips and holidays. In actual fact our three often ask to have a book turned on in the car rather than a film, and I love that they can listen whilst also taking in the scenery around them. Overdrive was a life saver on our big Summer trips this past two years and it’s all completely free!
RBDigital is the gateway to over two hundred current magazines. I don’t know about you, but I’m a total interiors magazine hoarder. I have a subscription to at least two and it’s my guilty pleasure to gather them all up each month. Now I can access them all via Libraries NI and the RBDigital app, and download them for free as soon as they hit the shelves. I was reluctant to believe it until I tried it (seems too good to be true, right?) but I spent Sunday totally engrossed in 25 Beautiful Homes and am a total convert. It’s going to save me a fortune each month!
Aside from this, there is the normal Library book lending service too. The beauty of downloading ebooks and borrowing digitally though, is that you are guaranteed to never be fined as books are automatically returned after three weeks. There’s no wait for your favourite title either, as the same book can be leant to numerous people at once and accessed 24/7. I think with so many of us reading on digital devices now, this is such a natural progression in public lending. I’m planning on loading up my iPad or Kindle Fire with lots of options (possibly a bit optimistic but, why not?) this Summer so that I’m totally good to go on the reading front throughout our holiday period.
With that in mind, I thought I’d share a few of our favourites in terms of books, audio titles and magazines currently – all accessible through Libraries NI. Do take a look at the service, it’s so well worth it. Simple, cost effective, fool proof, what’s not to love?
Now, giant cup of tea anyone?
for the kids…
for grown ups…
** Thank you to Libraries NI for sponsoring this post and sharing their free digital services with us. We’ve loved exploring it further!**