Off the Shelf: Customize your listening

Off the Shelf: Customize your listening

For community members with a smart phone, tablet, or home computer, downloadable eBooks and eAudiobooks available through the Washington Anytime Library (WAL) and hoopla, are simple to access anytime from home — and have been a lifesaver through the recent library closure.

If you’re ready to give eAudiobooks a try, visit

If you’d like assistance getting started, fill out the form at to set up a virtual one-on-one appointment with staff, either over the phone or Zoom.

As NOLS reopens the collection through curbside service, users who have enjoyed WAL downloadables may be excited to try some of the other audiobook formats available. Find these formats in the library catalog by searching for a title, author, or keyword and choosing “Audio Book” from the search filters on the right.

Book on CD

An old-school format compared to downloadables, Books on CD are the current incarnation of “books on tape.” The audiobook is available on sequential CDs — as many as 35 or more in the case of long books like “Drums of Autumn” by Diana Gabaldon.

You’ll know you have the right format by the icon shown in the catalog: an open book with a CD peeking over the top. NOLS has thousands of titles available in this format, in fiction and nonfiction for adults, kids and teens.


A Playaway is a self-contained unit — content and player all-in-one. Each player takes one AAA battery and has buttons to power on and off, play and pause, fast-forward and rewind, and change the playing speed and volume.

Each Playaway comes loaded with one title only, so there’s no downloading, plugging in, or fiddling — throw in a battery, plug in your headphones, and press play.

This collection is smaller, with fewer than a thousand titles in Adults, Kids, and Teens, but is extremely accessible for people who can’t easily manipulate CDs or clearly see the numbers and text on discs. They’re also great for those who no longer own a CD player! A personal favorite is Nation by Terry Pratchett.


NOLS’ other online downloadable service, hoopla allows users to check out a set amount of content per month. Choose from TV shows, movies, music albums, and eAudiobooks. Users can listen directly through a browser on a personal computer or device, or download to a smart device through the free hoopla app.

hoopla content is licensed under different terms than items in the WAL, so there’s never any wait lists — if you can see it, you can check it out. But if you see it, check it out today!

The content changes periodically, and what’s in the collection today may be gone next time. For users who love the convenience of borrowing WAL material at home on their personal devices, hoopla offers different titles with the same anytime, anywhere convenience. A fun read available in hoopla is “The Prodigal Tongue” by Lynne Murphy.

Summer Reading Program

Don’t forget: all this listening counts toward your reading goals in the Summer Reading Challenge! Sign up at to track your reading, earn a special NOLS T-Shirt for reading 30 days, and get entries into a grand prize drawing!

For more

Get more information about audiobook formats by visiting, calling 360-683-1161 or emailing to

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