A guide to zero waste reading + how to read for free!

A couple of years ago, I discovered my local library offers access to ebooks for free. The entire online collection is accessible through an app called Libby. I’m a member of the Montreal library and the BanQ library—both provide access to their online collections through Libby.

Follow these steps to get set up with your local library online:

Decide which device you want to read from

Choose from a tablet, iPad, Kindle, or Kobo. Keep in mind, Libby doesn’t work on Kindle for Canadian libraries, but it is available for American libraries. If you’re in Canada, read a lot, and prefer an e-ink screen, it might be best to choose Kobo.

Become a member of your local library 

If you’re not already a member of your local library, stop by for a visit and sign up! It’s quick and easy and is usually free. You can ask the librarian about their digital collection and learn how to start borrowing books online.

If you live in Quebec, you can subscribe to the BanQ online catalog by filling out this form.

Find out which app your library uses for ebooks and download it to your device

Once you know how to access the library from your device, you can start borrowing right away. I use the Libby app for both my library subscriptions. Once you download the app, you can search for your library and enter your login details:

You can then start placing holds and borrowing books right away! Each library has different limits on holds and loans. Keeping a few books on hold means you’ll always have something lined up. With Libby, if you’re not ready for a book when it becomes available, you can choose to pause the delivery for a few days or weeks.

Other ways to read sustainably: 

  1. Share books among friends and family
  2. Purchase ebooks for your Kindle or Kobo
  3. Purchase used books from your local second-hand book store or Facebook marketplace. I also discovered an option on Amazon to purchase used books (this is also available for many other products!):

Having the entire library available from my device has motivated me to read more than ever, and I hope you will too!

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