Tips for Using the New Libby App from OverDrive

In case you missed it, OverDrive has released a more user-friendly app named Libby that can be used to consume the library’s downloadable e-books and audiobooks.  Recently, the folks at the OverDrive blog composed a handy tip sheet for getting the most out of Libby.  We hope you find these tips as useful as we did!  Do you have your own tips to share?  Let us know in the comments!

Meet Libby, an Overdrive Alternative

Libby logo with text, "Meet Libby"

Libby:  An alternative to the OverDrive App

If you have downloaded eBooks, audiobooks, or other virtual content, you may have used the OverDrive app. The creators of OverDrive have released a new, more user-friendly app called Libby. It is available for new iOS (9+) and Android devices (4.4+). If your device runs an earlier operating system, you will need to continue using the OverDrive app. There isn’t a Kindle version of Libby, but the app can be used on an iOS or Android device to send to a Kindle, much like the current process of choosing the Kindle format at checkout in the current OverDrive app. It is recommend to use either Libby or the OverDrive app, because the two are not perfectly synced.

What’s Missing in Libby

Some features are still in development, and others are not planned for Libby at all.  If you need any of these features, you will need to continue using the OverDrive app:

  • Streaming Video – not planned for Libby
  • Accessibility (though font face/size and page color options are available) – text to speech coming in a future edition
  • Multilingual support – planned for a future release
  • Recommend to library – planned for a future release
  • Wish list – this functionality has changed to “tags”, but will not bring your OverDrive wish list to Libby.

Getting Started

"Getting started" screenshot from Libby app

First, go to your app store and download Libby.  The first time you login, there will be a welcome screen.  Tap “Hi” to reveal the setup screen.  You can either tap “find my library” to get started, or login with an existing OverDrive account.  The following tutorial will be using the “find my library” option.

If allowed, the app will use your GPS to determine your local library. If permission is denied, or Libby shows you the wrong library, you can search by zip code. Select UHLS when it appears. To see other libraries, tap the menu icon in the upper right and select “switch library.” The app will remember the last library you added.

In order to download eBooks or audiobooks, you will need to add your library card to the app. Tap the three line menu icon in the upper right of the screen and select library cards, then sign in using your card number. There is also an Add Your Card option on the blue header of the screen.

sign in screenshot

Make sure you are in the UHLS catalog before you add a UHLS card number. To add a second library card from another library system (for example if you have a library card at the New York Public Library or at another location), switch to that library in the app, and then add the corresponding card number for that library. Going forward, choosing which library card to use in the menu will determine which catalog you search.

Additionally, you can add multiple library cards in the same library system. This works well if you have different people in your household that will be using the app. To add another card, tap on Library Cards and then Add Another Card. Once a person’s card has been entered, you can add a nickname to make it easier to switch between cards. The default name will be linked card. Tapping on the name linked card will bring up details as well as the ability to change the name for easy use.

Add library card screenshot

To remove a card number go to Menu>Library Cards. Tap on the image labeled “linked card” (or whatever you have named it) and select “unlink card.” Confirm to remove the card and associated titles from the app.

Navigation

Comparison of icon difference between library view and shelf view

There are two main views:  Library View and Shelf view.  At the bottom of the screen, you will see the Libby icon.  To the left, the word “library” is slightly larger than the word “shelf” on the right.  This is because you are currently in the library view (default).  Tap “shelf” to see loans, holds, and activity related to your library card.  Whenever you see the Libby icon in the footer, you can toggle between the library and the shelf. Keep in mind that once you open a book in the app, you will see the book cover picture rather than the Libby icon. Library and Shelf will still be next to the icon. If you tap on the book cover picture, it will open the book.

Library View

Library view with menu open

On the opening screen, you can use the search box at the top for a targeted search, or you can scroll down to browse collections, genres, etc.  Each browsing section has a link to expand the view for more titles.

The menu icon (the three lines icon on the top right) contains the following options:

  • Switch Library
  • Library Cards
  • Hold Notifications
  • Download Settings (“download only on Wi-Fi” is selected by default) – choose whether to download items to your device or stream them. You must download them to use them offline.
  • Device Preferences – set whether all eBooks/audiobooks on your device are handled by Libby automatically
  • Tips and Secrets
  • Feedback

Borrowing  and Placing an Item on Hold

Item information screenshot

To borrow an item displayed on the main page, tap on the book cover. This will take you to a screen with more information about the item. On the same screen, you can also see if you have checked this item out previously. You can also choose Borrow directly from the search results if you have searched for an item. If the item is currently available, tap Borrow to check it out. If you have multiple cards within the library system, you can choose which account you would like to use to borrow the book.

Borrow screenshot

You will get conformation that the item is borrowed with an option to keep browsing or to go to your Shelf to begin reading.

If an item is unavailable, you will see the approximate wait time until the item is available. You can tap Place Hold to place the item on hold and get an email once it becomes available. After tapping Place Hold, you will get a conformation that the item has been successfully placed on hold.

Place hold screenshot

Shelf  View

Loans

Loans screenshot

When you borrow a book, it is automatically downloaded to your device (unless you change this setting).  Tap “open book” to begin reading.  Once you start reading a book within the Libby app, the book cover will appear in place of the Libby icon at the bottom of the screen. Please note, if you started reading this title in the OverDrive app, progress will not be synced with Libby. If you are using more than one library system, all of your borrowed items will appear here.

If you tap on the book cover in Loans, you will see the following information and options about the selected title:

  • Open Book, which allows you to read the book in the app
  • The ability to renew the item. If it’s not currently able to be renewed, you will be shown the date when you can renew it
  • The option to return the title to the library
  • The ability to send the item to another device, such as a Kindle
  • The ability to tag the title
  • View more details about the title including a description, the supported formats, and publishing information

Holds

Tapping on the Holds tab will show all of the items you have joined a waiting list for. If you tap on the title, you will see the following information and options about the selected title:

  • Read Sample
  • Edit the Hold (where to send the hold notice to, if the hold should be borrowed automatically when it becomes available, and if the hold is currently active)
  • The ability to tag the title
  • View more details about the title including a description, the supported formats, and publishing information
  • Where you are on the wait list, and approximately how long it will be before the title becomes available

Tags

Tag books for future reading or create your own tags.

Activity

See a timeline of your activity in the app, such borrowing titles and app updates.

Navigating a Book

Once you have borrowed an eBook, you can read it within the app. In Shelf view, under Loans, you will see all the items you have checked out. Tap on Open Book to begin reading. Once the book has opened, tap the center of the page to reveal navigation options in the header and footer.  In the header, you can go back to the shelf view, search the book, add a bookmark, or use the menu icon to see chapters, bookmarks, and reading settings (font size, etc.).  The footer shows your progress with page numbers and a slider.  Tap the center of the page again to dismiss the menu. Once you have opened a book, the app will remember your progress and Resume will be listed instead of Open Book. The app will open to where you left off reading.

Navigating an Audiobook

You can open an audiobook the same way as eBook. Once the audiobook has opened, in the header, you can increase the speed of narration, set the sleep timer, create a bookmark, or use the menu to access chapters and bookmarks.  The back button will bring you back to the shelf view.  Use the play/pause icon and slider in the footer to control playback.

More Information

Meet Libby: A quick overview with a video.

Have you tried the new Libby app? Let us know in the comments.