popular library digital apps
On Learning

Popular library digital apps

If you have considered renting ebooks from your local library but weren’t sure how to start, here’s a brief overview. Later, I’ll cover how to use an app subscription model (like Scrib) and an ebook purchase service (like Kindle).

Getting Started

Below are some reading apps common among libraries. Start with one and see how it goes. Note borrow/checkout days or items allowed to rent per month vary by library. Not all apps are offered at libraries.

To find your local library, visit www.worldcat.org/libraries or search online.

Reading apps offered

BiblioBoard is an online collection of indie published books as well as non-copywritten materials, available for Android, IOS, and Kindle through their app stores. Ideal for readers who enjoy finding obscure books and supporting new authors.

CloudLibrary has eBooks for library cardholders. For those that prefer eReaders, Cloud Library currently supports Kobos and Nooks. Ideal for readers who read on both apps and their reading devices. See Support page.

Hoopla contains fiction, nonfiction, audiobooks, comics, movies, music, and TV for all ages. This service may only allow up to five items a month but allow longer checkouts for books, audiobooks and comics. Ideal for readers who don’t mind reading on the Hoopla app only, no reading device support. See Support page.

Libby offers ebooks and audiobooks from the classics to New York Times bestsellers; your library chooses which digital titles they’d like to provide. You can also send your borrowed books to your Kindle. Ideal for readers who enjoy receiving custom reading suggestions. See Sign up page and Support page.

OverDrive offers many titles online, for offline use, or you can send borrowed ebooks to a Kindle device. If you’re on a computer, you may also be able to transfer titles to compatible ereaders or MP3 players. Ideal for readers who read on both apps and their reading devices. See Support page.

RB Digital Magazines contains digital versions of your favorite magazines such as Readers Digest, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and much more. Ideal for readers who want enjoy various magazines. See Sign up page and Help page.

Tumble Book library is an online collection of animated talking picture books and audio books which teach young children the joys of reading. Ideal for readers who are looking for children resources. See Help page.

Items to Consider

Library card number: Most apps will require your library card number, name and email at sign up. Keep this information nearby or saved on your desktop.

Fines: If it’s been a while since you’ve used your library card, check if you have outstanding fines. Some of the apps block borrowing privileges until you are in good standing.

Instructions and support: Most apps have instructions on how to get started on their site and libraries post their own. However, the Internet has plenty of videos or you can enlist a friend. For the most part, the process will go something like this:

  1. Check your library’s website for reading apps available
  2. Select a reading app to try and download
  3. Set up a new account with the app
  4. Connect your library card with your account
  5. Test borrowing items from the app

There are tutorial videos online created by the app companies and libraries in case you get stuck through the set up process. For example, the Libby Tutorial by Bibliothèque publique CSL Public Library, the CloudLibrary Logging In Tutorial by bibliotheca, and the How to Download Books with the OverDrive App by UAPublicLibrary

Navigating the world of library apps can rewarding once you get the hang of it. There’s something nice about borrowing (almost) any book you’d like.

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Questions for you

Feel free to comment on this article on Twitter. Are you new to using library apps? If so, which one will you be trying now? If you’re familiar with library apps, which one do you use the most often and why?

Writer and creator of a character called Subbie. I'm host of the Move Up Podcast, dedicated to all things that help improve your life, one step at a time. I enjoy reviewing blog tools and apps. I send a weekly newsletter with updates and tips.

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