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.

Use Your Library On the Go with UHLS Mobile!

UHLS logo with title "UHLS Mobile"

There is a new mobile app from the Upper Hudson Library System. The app has many neat features including the ability to search for and place holds on library items, access your library account, see scheduled events, contact your local library, and much more.

Getting Started

The app is available for Apple and Android devices. To download the app, open the App Store on Apple devices or the Google Play Store on Android devices and search for “UHLS Mobile.”

UHLS Mobile in the app store

When you open the app for the first time, you’ll get a pop-up asking to allow notifications. You will get another pop-up asking you if you’d like to let the app use your location. Using your location makes it easy to locate a nearby library if you are out and about. Once you’ve chosen your notification and location preferences, you’ll be asked to select your preferred library. After you have selected your preferred library, you will get a conformation of your choice.

"select a library" screenshot

After choosing your preferred library, you will be taken to the main menu, which lists all the things you can do on the app.

Popular This Week

"popular this week" screenshot

The first thing you’ll see is a sampling of books that are popular this week. Tapping on “see all” next to the book jacket will bring up a complete list of books that are popular this week, and from there, tapping on a title will give you more information about the book as well as the ability to request it.

"popular this week - all items" screenshot

Search and Request

The first option on the main menu is “search the catalog.” Tapping on this option will bring you to the search screen, where you can search for library items by title, author, subject, or keyword. You can search by tapping on the top center dialog box and entering your search term.

"catalog search" screenshot

Once you start typing, a list will appear with items that match your search query. If you tap on a particular title, you will be taken to the Item Details screen. From here, you can see details about the item such as a summary of the item and which libraries have copies of the item available. You can also place a hold on the item by tapping Place Hold. If you choose to place a hold, you will need to login with your library card number.

"item details" screenshot

You can tap back in the top left corner to see your search results or to perform another search. To get back to the main menu, you can tap back again or click the home icon on the bottom left of the screen.

My Account

By selecting My Account on the main menu, you can review your library account or your Overdrive account. To login to your library account, click on login under library account. Once you login, you will then see a summary of your account, including the number of items you currently have checked out and how many items you have requested.

"my account" screenshot

You can tap on Checked Out to get a list of items you currently have checked out. On the list of checked out items, to renew a particular item, tap on the title. You’ll be taken to a conformation screen telling you if your renewal request was successful. Tapping on Requests will bring up a list of your requested items. If an item is ready to be picked up, there will be a message with “status: ready to be picked up” underneath the title, as well as the date it must be picked up by. If the item is not ready to be picked up, you will only see the library branch where you can pick up the item once it is available.

"requested items" screenshot

Barcode Wallet

Another neat feature of the app is the Barcode Wallet. If your library has the proper scanning technology at the checkout desk, you can use the app in place of your library card when checking out items at the library. You can enter a library card number along with a label identifying the cardholder for each family member for easy access.

Once a person has been added, tap on their name to bring up their card.

"barcode wallet" screenshot

"barcode scan screen" screenshot

You can also bring up the bar code screen from My Account on the main menu, and choosing view barcode.

OverDrive and Online Resources

By tapping on OverDrive on the main menu, you can download e-books and e-audioBooks. Selecting Online Resources gives you easy access to Flipster (for digital magazines), Gale Virtual Reference Library (for always available non-fiction eBooks), Heritage Quest (for online genealogy research), and Mango Languages (to learn a new language).

BookLook

By tapping on BookLook on the main menu, you can scan the ISBN number bar code on the back of any book. The app uses your device’s camera to scan the ISBN number and then searches the catalog to see if it is available at the library.

Events

If you are interested in upcoming events at the library, choose Events from the main menu. You then have the option to see only East Greenbush Community Library (or whichever library you chose as your preferred library) events or you can view all shared events from area libraries.

Hours

Wondering when the library is open? Tap on Location & Hours to see library hours and directions or to quickly call or email the library.

"location and hours" screenshot

Social Media Integration

If you want to connect with the library on social media, select Connect with Us from the main menu. You’ll be given a link to the library’s social media pages including Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, Pinterest, and YouTube. If you want to call or email the library directly, choose Contact Us from the main menu. If you would like to view the library’s website, you can quickly access it by selecting Library Website from main menu.

Your Preferred Library

If you want to change your preferred library, on the main menu screen, tap on libraries in the bottom right corner and your preferred library selection will be cleared. You’ll get a message that your preferred library was cleared and if you tap below the conformation message, you can select a new preferred library. If you have the app location set to on, it will list all of the area libraries in order of the distance from your current location.

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