Helium delivers library books to Milwaukee doors

Helium delivers library books to Milwaukee doors

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Helium books, co-founded by Jacob Carlson and Ian Buchanan, is a library book delivery service here in Milwaukee. Just like the name Helium, its mission is to uplift readers through the power of reading.

“Part of the idea and genesis of Helium is really just bringing convenience to reading books,” said Carlson.

Co-founders Jacob Carlson and Ian Buchanan | Courtesy of Jake Hill

Getting a book delivered to you is a straightforward process. Every book that is delivered is from the Milwaukee Public Library. Through the Helium website, you type the name of the author and book title, and after a few clicks plugging in your information, your selected book is set to be delivered to you by a Helium staff member. A couple of sweet perks are the extension of your rental and having your book returned back through Helium.

As a celebration of Helium’s launch this past September, delivery services are currently free, however they intend to charge in the future. Buchanan said the idea of creating this business started after a visit to the library.

“I would have a list of books and a lot of them weren’t at the library I was at,” said Buchanan. “I figured other people might have this problem as well. The library has this holding system where you could request books to be brought to your home library but I figured why not take that middle step and have someone deliver it for you?”

Carlson says although in recent years he couldn’t find the time to read before starting Helium, he remembers his childhood where he first began his love for reading through his local summer reading program. 

“We were blocks away from the library, my sister and I, so every summer there was that list of 10 or 15 books,” said Carlson. “We would walk over with our library card, with our signature on it, we felt like the cat’s meow and we would get our book.”

Not only does Helium deliver books to you, but they also give back to the community. Since this month is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Helium is donating a dollar from every rental order placed through Helium.

One thing to consider here is how some individuals have limited access. Whether they’re busy with school, work or simply can’t get to their local library, Milwaukeeans now have another way to explore the endless realms that can be found in stories.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee