Your library away from the library…

Roy Mackenzie | September 13, 2016

Like a little over 15% of residents in the area, I can often be found biking to work, but as we approach the cooler, late fall weather and the bitter cold of  New England winter, I will turn more and more to the MBTA to get me from home to work. Unfortunately, that often means spending upwards of two to three hours per day on buses and trains. Fortunately, the library has a wide variety of resources and collections that I can use to occupy my time on the T. Even better: some of these can be accessed even while you’re stuck on a delayed train or stranded at home by those February blizzards.

If you’re looking for something to read on your trip, we have a lot of options. Of course, there’s the physical book collection, which is large and varied. While reading a full size hardcover book can be a little tough on a moving train or a crowded bus, we have lots of paperback books to chose from, as well. Personally, I find turning the pages can be a bit tough when I’ve got one hand hanging onto the overhead bar and the Green Line is packed with students, but that’s exactly the situation where ebooks really shine. If you have a smart phone or tablet, you can access a tremendous number of ebooks through either of our two digital services: Hoopla or Overdrive. As long as you know your login information, you can access those services anywhere you can access the internet. There are a lot of really interesting titles on both services, and Hoopla even has graphic novels and comics available, as well. If you’re looking for some light reading, we also have an assortment of magazines that can be checked out through Flipster, and we have digital subscriptions to the New York Times.


If you’re not in the mood to read, we have other options for you. The Public Library of Brookline has a massive collection of audiobooks and Playaway books. Audiobooks can be played on any device that will play a cd, and the only thing you need to use a Playaway is a set of headphones/ear buds, and batteries. We currently have over a thousand titles on Playaway, and thousands more audiobooks on disc. Of course, if you’re like me, you probably got rid of your Discman a long time ago, but fear not: Hoopla and Overdrive have you covered with audiobooks as well. In fact, Hoopla also has an entire catalog of films and videos, in case you’re looking for something to watch during your commute. Just make sure you don’t forget your headphones at home.


If you’re looking for something more informational, you could check out some of our many online resources. Many of our patrons have used services like Mango to learn a new language, or have turned to to learn new skills or take interesting courses.

Of course, if you’re using digital services, you’re going to need an internet connection, and, sadly, the MBTA hasn’t started installing public wireless on the buses or trains, yet. Instead of burning up all your mobile data, I’d suggest checking out one of our mobile hotspots. I borrowed one and used it to watch Netflix during my bus and train trips for two weeks. It was really easy to get started, and having unlimited data to stream videos with was perfect for those days when I got stuck sitting in traffic. Mobile hotspots are available at all three locations. We have twenty total; half are quick pick and half are reservable.

If you’re not in the mood to read, listen, or watch, we still have options for you. In our gaming collection, you’ll find a few games that are perfect for travel or trips. Most of the games require a little more space and a lot less movement than you’re likely to find on a morning train, but there are a few, such as Kanoodle and V Cube, that can be played alone on the T. If you have someone with you, the options open up a bit more.