re: exposing myself
a little background
For the past four years, I studied in a country in Asia where public libraries were virtually nonexistent and university libraries didn’t carry recreational books. I’m originally from the United States, and before I moved, I was fortunate enough to never have to spend money on books; I always had access to a school or city library. It was jolting relocating to place where I didn’t have that luxury and made me realize how much reading is a privilege. I still found ways to read, whether it was buying books online or in bookstores or borrowing from friends, but I missed the ease of having a library with a greater selection of free stories.
You know what would have really been helpful to have? Libby.
Libby, by OverDrive is an app that partners up with public libraries so that you may access their ebooks, audiobooks, and read-alongs, as long as you have a library card (and internet connection!).
If you don’t have a card with your library yet, no problem. Libby has an option for you to sign up for a library card instantly!
As far as I know, Libby works with many libraries in the United States and some from Canada and the UK. However, Libby’s creator, OverDrive, also has an app which includes both public and private library collections and is more worldwide. (I looked it up, and OverDrive apparently has partnerships with elementary and secondary schools in the country I studied in!)
Countries OverDrive is available in:
*I chose to exclude OverDrive from this post and talk only about Libby because it’s the app that I’ve been using and can speak for.
The Libby app operates like a traditional library in the sense that you can borrow and hold items. This particular fact confused me at first because why do I have to borrow a digital item?
It turns out that libraries decide how many copies of ebooks and audiobooks they want in their digital hub, buy them from publishers, and agree to lend the books accordingly. This is so that publisher’s don’t lose sales from ebooks becoming so widespread. (Although, there’s actually an ongoing debate over publisher’s increasing ebook prices.)
An itemized list of what you can do with Libby from Libby’s website:
In short, Libby is a virtual library. And the benefit of it being virtual is that you can access it virtually anywhere.
A sample of what the Libby app looks like:
a little more background
So, why didn’t I use Libby for the past four years?
Because I didn’t know about it.
Seriously. I guess I was living under a giant asian ROCK because I didn’t know about the app’s existence until this past June.
It’s one of those things though that once you see for the first time, you can’t stop seeing it everywhere. The brilliance of the Libby app seems to be common knowledge among the bookish community, but—what’s that thing my dad likes to say to me? “Common knowledge is not so common”. (Or wait—I think it was “common sense is not so common”. HAHAHAHA. Frick. You can plainly see how much I don’t know.)
“Belle, what was the point of this post?”
the appreciation bit
The point I’m trying to make is: the Libby app exists, and I love it.
Even though I’m back home, I still find the app incredibly useful for borrowing titles that aren’t physically available in my library. I’ve come to prefer ebooks in recent years anyways, so now I have endless options of FREE ones. Thanks to Libby, I’m now an audiobook convert too!
I feel like I’m in an advert and should be turning around with two thumbs up saying, “Thanks, Libby 👍👍!” 😂
In all of this, I’ve come to actually enjoy the bizarreness of borrowing digital books.
Now, I have a looming return date to pressure me to read. Not only that, I’m also able to see how many people are holding a book I’m reading. This is particularly helpful so that I know which books I should prioritize. It adds a certain realness to the whole virtual-library-thing seeing someone is waiting for a book on your shelf. It’s something I missed about the ~ library experience ~ while I was abroad.
I wanted to make this post to:
- expose myself for not knowing what Libby was,
- rave about Libby, and—more importantly—
- introduce Libby to any of you who weren’t aware of it.
Libby is great a option for those of you who are looking for a free, easily accessible way to read books. Check with your *local library to see if it’s partnered with Libby or Overdrive!