Libby Gets an Update and the OverDrive App Says Farewell

There are some changes coming to the Libby app! The folks over at OverDrive, the makers of the Libby app, have rolled out some improvements to the Libby app for easier navigation and an overall improved experience.

If you aren’t familiar with Libby, it is a free app that can be downloaded to your Android (non-Kindle), iOS (iPhone/iPad/iPod touch), and Windows 10 devices. You can use the app to browse for e-books, e-audiobooks, and digital magazines. (OverDrive video is not available in Libby.) Once you have borrowed an item, you can also use the app to read/listen to them.

Updated Navigation Bar

New Navigation Icons with Labels

The first change is an updated navigation bar on the bottom section of the app. Each icon in the navigation bar has been updated for clarity and consistency.

Search: Search the library’s catalog for e-books and e-audiobooks.
Library Home Screen: Takes you to the UHLS OverDrive home screen.
Notifications: A badge icon with a number will display if you have any notifications, which includes if there are titles ready to borrow or if a hold placed has not been borrowed in time and has expired.
Libby Menu: Displays notification messages; allows you to add a library card (if you have more than one East Greenbush or Upper Hudson library card) or library (if you belong to more than one library system); and Help & Support (including Settings).
Shelf: Displays your current loans, holds, and tags.
Timeline: Shows your recent activity on Libby: items borrowed, items returned, holds placed, and other Libby activity.

Library Home Organization

New Library Home Screen

Extras and Guides are now featured prominently. The Preferences option has been moved to search results, lists, and guides to help better filter the results so you can easily find what you are looking for.

Search Enhancements

New Search Features

When searching for an item, you will now see an Explore with Filters section, with options to browse by format, availability, and more.  Advanced search filters are available with the + more button on this screen.

New Settings Menu

New Settings Menu

There is a new Settings menu, which include existing settings such as manage notifications, change download rules, choose your language, etc. as well as new options like adding labels to the navigation icons.

If you choose to add labels to your navigation icons, this is how it will be displayed:

Timeline Improvements

The timeline has a new layout, with each title displayed once in a single collapsible entry. More title and user activity details are available in this new layout. The timeline displays your recent activity such as when you borrowed or returned a specific title.

OverDrive App Is Being Discontinued

In addition to all these new Libby improvements, the OverDrive app is being phased out. The OverDrive app (which is a separate app from Libby) will be removed from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and Microsoft Windows Store in February 2022.

Current OverDrive app users can continue to use the app. If you are searching for the OverDrive app, you will be directed to Libby. All users can continue to use, borrow, and open titles from the Upper Hudson OverDrive website via a browser.

More Information

OverDrive has prepared a landing page with more information about the transition to Libby. If you have any additional questions about the new Libby features or the discontinuation of the OverDrive app, please contact the library.

Free Digital Content, For Everyone

With many people throughout the world being asked to stay home, many streaming providers have been offering free content. We’ll go over some of the places where you can watch things for free while social distancing and how they can be accessed.

Apple TV+ is offering a decent amount of their original series for non-subscribers. You will need an Apple ID to sign in (you can get an Apple ID for free if you don’t already have one). These shows include:

  • Servant
  • Little America
  • Helpsters
  • For All Mankind
  • Dickinson
  • Snoopy in Space
  • The Elephant Queen
  • Ghostwriter

Apple TV+ can be accessed through an app on streaming devices such as Roku, Amazon Firestick/Amazon Firecube and also on smartphones, tablets and laptops. When navigating the Apple TV app, you will see a large “Free for Everyone” tab that you can tap or click to access the content.

Also accessible through Apple TV+ channels app is Epix. They feature a large offering of movies and TV programming. Their selection is free when accessed through the Apple TV app.

HBO is offering a selection of movies, documentaries and its original series to non-subscribers through the HBO Go and HBO Now app. For information on what programming is available, check out their website. Some selections include: series like The Wire, Big Little Lies, The Sopranos; movies like Pokemon Detective Pikachu, Isn’t it Romantic, and Blinded by the Light; and documentaries like The Apollo, McMillion$, and United Skates.

AMC Networks is running a “We’re With You” campaign that includes the first half of Season 10 of The Walking Dead.

Other networks that fall under AMC Networks include BBC America, which offering a collection of nature documentaries, the entire new season of Dr. Who, the entire series of Orphan Black, and many other neat programs. Additionally, the season three premiere of Killing Eve is available. To watch, go to their website.

IFC (the Independent Film Channel) is offering a comedy lineup for those of us that could use some laughs. They are offering free full seasons for the month of April of shows like Birthday Boys, Baroness von Sketch Show, Spoils of Babylon, Spoils Before Dying, Bunk and Mystery Science Theatre 3000. The programming can be accessed on IFC.com and on their IFC TV app.

Sling TV is offering free TV from 5pm through midnight every evening. There is also a selection of free TV shows and movies available anytime for non-subscribers. The content can be accessed through their website or through the Sling TV app on Roku, Amazon Fire, and many other devices. To get started, select the free option on the app or browse available content on their website.

YouTube is offering a decent amount of their original series for free for a limited time. You can check this list for the complete offering. The list has links to watch the programs.

Last but not least, Hoopla Digital and Overdrive both offer a large collection of streaming videos. Both are services offered from the Upper Hudson Library System and are free for residents of Albany or Rensselaer County. If you belong to a different library system, check out their digital collections, as there is a good chance they also offer one or both of these great services. Both can be accessed on their websites or through their apps, which are available on smartphones, tablets and other devices. The Hoopla app is available on devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire devices, Apple TV, Chromecast, and more. A full listed of supported Hoopla devices can be found here. The Overdrive app is available on iOS, Android devices, Kindle Fire, and more. A full list of devices that can access the Overdrive can be found here.

Other offerings

There are also a handful of original episodes of Showtime original programing that can be watched on their website.

Focus Features will be streaming a free movie every Monday in April for free on their Facebook page. The movies begin at 8pm, EST. The schedule for the rest of April:
-April 20, Mallrats (featuring a Q & A with director Kevin Smith after the movie)
-April 27, My Summer of Love

SiriusXM is offering free streaming of their satellite radio service for all North American residents. To get started, head over to their website.

Streaming Services With Extended Trial Periods

Many streaming services offer a free seven day trial period. During social distancing, many services are offering a 30 day (or longer) trial period, during which the trial can be canceled at anytime. As a heads up, you will probably need to enter your credit card information to begin any of these trials. These are just trials and if you don’t cancel before the end of the trial period, you will be charged the regular monthly rate.

  • CBS All Access For the CBS All Access extended trial, use the code ALL
  • Acorn TV, a large selection of British TV and movies. Use code FREE30 when signing up on their website.
  • History Vault, a collection of documentaries from the History Channel.
  • The Lifetime Movie Club, a collection of new and classic Lifetime movies.
  • Noggin, featuring many children’s programs such as Peppa Pig, Dora the Explorer and more. (60 day trial)
  • Shudder, featuring horror, thriller, and suspense movies and programming. Use code SHUTIN on their website.
  • Smithsonian Channel, a large collection of documentaries on a variety of different subjects. Use the code ALONETOGETHER on their website when signing up.
  • Netflix, movies, TV shows, documentaries, and original programming.
  • Hulu, movies, TV shows, documentaries, and original programming.

Do you know of any other services offering free programming while we’re all at home? Let us know in the comments.

Libby 101: Video Demonstrations of How to Use the Libby App (Part 2)

Our previous post showed how to login with Libby for the first time, as well as how to check out an item with Libby. Today, we’ll look at how to explore the library collection, how to place a hold, and a guide to navigating through the shelf feature.

The video below demonstrates how to explore what titles the library has to offer, and how to place a hold on an item that is not currently available.

The second video demonstrates how to use the Shelf feature to see what loans you currently have checked out, as well as how to check out a hold that is ready for pickup, and how to check the status of holds that you have already placed.

If you are interested in a more complete how-to guide about Libby, please check out our full how-to post. If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comments section.

Libby 101: Video Demonstrations of How to Use the Libby App (Part 1)

There are many ebooks and audiobooks available for free through the library. This digital content can be accessed through an e-reader, such as a Kindle or Nook, or through an app called Libby, which is available on all Apple and Android devices. Libby is made by Overdrive, which you may have heard of if you have downloaded digital content before. Currently, there is no Libby app for Kindle Fire devices.

Below are some videos to guide you through the process of using Libby and its features.

To get started, download Libby from either the App Store on Apple devices, such as an iPhone or iPad or the Google Play Store on Android devices.

A video demonstration of opening the Libby app for the first time

Here is a video demonstration of opening the Libby app for the first time and using your library card to login. If you do not have a library card yet, you can sign up for one online.

Once you have downloaded and signed in, you’re ready to search for materials! There is a video demonstration below that shows how to check out an item. The video also shows how to change reading settings.

Stay tuned for more Libby tutorials, including exploring and browsing, how to place a hold, and a guide to the shelf feature.

If you are interested in a more complete how-to guide about Libby, please check out our full how-to post. If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comments section.


See What All the Hoopla Is About

There is a new streaming service coming December 2, 2019 to the East Greenbush Library! Hoopla Digital is a one-stop-shop for all things digital entertainment.

Hoopla Digital is a service that has access to over 700,000 titles in various formats:

-Movies
-Television
-Music
-e-books (including novels, graphic novels and non-fiction)
-Audiobooks

Hoopla Digital is free to any East Greenbush or Schodack resident. If you are a resident of East Greenbush or Schodack and your card is denied, please come to the circulation desk at the library with proof of your current residence.

Hoopla differs from OverDrive because there are no holds or waiting lists. If you are browsing and see an e-book or movie that you want to check out, you can check it out right then and there without having to wait.

You are allowed five checkouts per month. This includes all types of media. The loan period starts from the moment the title is borrowed. Titles will be automatically returned at the end of the loan period and there are no late fees. Additionally, you are able to re-borrow the same title once the lending period has ended. Here are the lending periods for various media types:

e-books/Comics/Graphic Novels – 21 days
Movies/Television – 72 hours (some content 48 hours)
Music – 7 days
Audiobooks – 21 days

This sounds great, you may be saying to yourself, how do I sign up? Well, it’s easy! Starting December 2, 2019, head over to Hoopla’s website or download the app to your device, and create a free account. All you need to sign up is an email address and your library card number.

Once your account has been created, you’re ready to start streaming and/or downloading content. You can view Hoopla content on a computer, your smartphone, and various other streaming devices such as: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, Android and Amazon Alexa (smart speaker).

Helpful Tips:

If you check out an e-book, the book must be read within the Hoopla app.

If you are unable to borrow materials and you have not reached your monthly five item limit, please contact the library.

If you have any questions, you can contact Hoopla staff directly via email through the app and they will respond within 24 hours.