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. You also need to visit the Holds section to borrow an item you have requested that is ready for check out. When an item you have requested becomes available, it will look like this:

Once an item you’ve requested becomes available, you have three days to borrow it. If now isn’t a good time, you can tap Deliver Later and choose when you would like to have the item delivered:

Use the slider to choose a time frame that is more convenient for your reading schedule. Once you’ve chosen a time period, tap on update hold.

Also in the the Holds screen, for your items that aren’t available yet, 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.

Online Registration

uhls

If you aren’t currently a member of a library in Albany or Rensselaer County, you will be able to register for a library card online beginning 1/2/2017 by following a link on the Encore Login Page or visiting http://sierra.uhls.org/selfreg.

signupscreenIn order to register, you’ll need to be a resident of Albany or Rensselaer County and have a valid email address. Once you’ve filled in the all the required fields, you will get a confirmation page with your temporary library card number. In order to get your physical library card with your permanent barcode number, you will have to visit the library with photo ID and proof of your current address (such as a recent utility bill or lease).

confscreenOnce you’ve gotten your temporary barcode, you will need to set up a PIN by clicking the link on the confirmation page, which can also be accessed here: https://sierra.uhls.org/pinreset.

pinrequest

After you have entered your temporary barcode number on the PIN Request page, you will get an email with a link that allows you to choose a PIN. The link contained in the email will only be valid for three hours.

choosepin

Choosing a PIN will allow you to request library items through the library catalog, as well as check out digital items, such as ebooks and audiobooks, through Overdrive. You will be unable to access other digital resources outside of the library until you receive your physical library card with your permanent barcode.

If you have any questions about online registration, please contact the library.

A Brand New Overdrive Page is Coming

mainscreen2

If you’ve ever checked out anything electronically (an eBook, a digital audiobook, a digital periodical, or a streaming movie), then you have used OverDrive. On November 9th, OverDrive will be getting a facelift, with new features and a brand new look. This post will go over the changes in the new layout.

If you’d like to check out what the Upper Hudson Library System’s new OverDrive page will look like, you can check it out here: https://uhls.overdrive.com. This link will continue to work once the site goes live. You can also go to the current OverDrive page and you will see a red bar across the bottom with a link to the preview site.

Signing In

The first change you may notice is the login screen.

login

There are two new options: using your OverDrive account to login or connecting via your Facebook account. An OverDrive account syncs your progress through titles, your saved libraries, and your bookmarks across multiple devices. Keep in mind that whichever way you sign in, you will need to enter your library card number.

Once you have logged in, you will see a drop down box appear.

myaccountdropdown

There is a new icon that looks like three books. Clicking on this icon will always take you back to your account. There is some new terminology here also. The section of your account that listed the items you currently had checked out was called Checkouts. They will now be referred to as Loans, which you can see appears first on the drop down box.

Searching and Browsing

If you are browsing the site, you can click on Subjects in the top left corner. This will bring up the entire library collection, organized by subject. Once you’ve clicked on Subjects, you also have the option of narrowing down the list by format (eBook, Audiobook, Video, or Periodicals). Clicking on Collections with bring up a drop down box that allows you to easily see things like new additions and popular titles, organized by format. You can click on the magnifying glass icon to bring up a search box. When you click on it, you’ll also get a link for the Advanced Search feature, if you want to limit your search by specific criteria. Searching directly from the search box will now use an auto complete feature.

Whether you’ve narrowed down by subject or searched by a specific keyword, you will notice changes in the way the results are shown.

statusThere will be text across the top of each book jacket picture showing the item’s availability. You will see a blue bar with Available if an item is available and can be checked out right away. There will be a blue bar with Borrowed if you currently have the item checked out. If you currently have the item on hold, On Hold will be written on a white bar. If the item currently has a waiting list, you will see Wait List across the top. If the item has Wait List shown, there are no current copies available for check out and you will need to put the item on hold if you’d like to borrow it. If you’d like to add an item to your Wish List, you can click on the little ribbon shaped icon with a plus sign. You can also see the format of the item listed under the title and author.

If you click the icon with the three dots, you’ll get three options: Read/listen to a sample of the item, View More Details (where you can view more details about the item, such as a plot summary, the available formats and more), and You May Also Like, which gives you recommendations based on that item. Clicking on the book jacket or the title will also take you to the more details page.

Checking Out an Item and Placing Holds

You can click the borrow link under the jacket picture to borrow the item. Once you’ve clicked borrow, you’ll get a blue notification bar across the top of your screen that tells you when your loan ends, as well as a link to your Loans page, where you can download the item to your device.

notificationbar

If you go to the item’s page to check an item out, you have the option of choosing the lending period. On the blue borrow button, you’ll see an arrow. Clicking on that will bring up a drop down box, allowing you to choose whether you would like to check the item out for 7, 14, or 21 days.

lendingperiod

Placing an item on hold has changed slightly. You can click the Place a Hold link under the picture of the book cover or from the item’s more details page. You’ll get a conformation popup that your hold has been placed, which lists the email address where you’ll be notified, along with a link to manage all the holds you’ve currently placed. You’ll also get recommendations that are currently available for check out based on the item you’ve just placed on hold.

holdconfirm

Your Account

There have been a few changes to the my account section of OverDrive. Once you’ve chosen which format you want to download, a little button labeled How to Return will appear under the item. This will give instructions on how to return to the item early, based on which format you’ve chosen.

loans

Holds

In the Holds section of your account, you can view the items you currently have on hold.

holds

The date the hold placed will be listed across the top. Near the bottom, you have the option to edit the email address where you’d like to be notified once the item is available, to suspend the hold to a particular date, and to delete the hold. Clicking on the three dots near the top right corner will give you the same options as we saw earlier: to read/view a sample, view details, and recommendations based on that title. You can also see what number you are on the waiting list, as well as the format of the item on hold.

Settings and Help

The option to choose whether you want to automatically check out an item is now found in settings. You can check or uncheck this option. Whenever you make any changes to your settings, they are automatically saved.

If you need help using OverDrive, there is a help link on the top right corner of each page. You can also get assistance by scrolling to the bottom of the page. Under help you’ll see FAQs, a getting started guide, a link to contact support, and more. Clicking on Get Support will give you the option of going to the OverDrive support site, which has getting started guides, videos, how-to articles, troubleshooting tips and more. You’ll also get the option to contact the library for more specific questions.

What do you think of the OverDrive’s new look? Let us know in the comments.

iOS 7 Upgrade Causes Issues with OverDrive Media Console

If you have an iOS device, chances are good that you have already or will soon be upgrading to iOS 7.  Unfortunately for OverDrive users, the upgrade caused a hiccup that kept users from accessing their books in the OverDrive Media Console app.  The good news is, OverDrive released a simple fix almost immediately.  They suggest uninstalling and reinstalling the OverDrive app and re-authorizing it with your Adobe ID.  It is important to note that uninstalling will clear your bookshelf, settings and history.  Any items checked out to you can be downloaded again by logging into your OverDrive account’s bookshelf.  To login, open the app and select “Get Books.” Click on the account icon and enter you library card number: account

For more information about this issue, please see OverDrive’s blog post on the subject.

Sharing OverDrive Titles

OverDrive LogoThe other day, I spotted a neat feature in the OverDrive Media Console app that I had previously overlooked.  After clicking the “+” next to a title on my bookshelf to view its details page, I saw a “Share” button.  Ever curious, I clicked it and was surprised to be presented with options to share this title via email, Facebook, Goodreads, or any other social app installed on my (Android) phone.  This is not a feature for lending a title to a friend, but it allowed me to send links and mention it to a targeted audience.  If you like to recommend books to your friends, this could be a handy feature.

After a little research, I learned that the share feature differs by device.  While Android users are given every possible sharing option, iOS (Apple) users can only share via Facebook, Twitter and email.  If you’re using a Windows phone, you will be limited to sharing on Facebook.  Sadly, Blackberry users were not mentioned in the press release.  If you are a Blackberry user, I’d be interested to hear whether the share option is available to you.