How Do I Use Library Apps?
These days, libraries are so much more than physical books. Librarians don’t just find books or make reading recommendations (though they’re still great at that), they also make a wide variety of important resources available to their entire community. And you don’t even have to go to the physical library to access them–much of those services and resources are available online, both on library websites and through apps on your phone, computer, tablet, or e-reader.
Libby (by Overdrive)
Libby is essentially the digital version of your library. Once you create an account using your library card number, you’ll have access to thousands of e-books and audiobooks you can read immediately from your phone, computer, and even your Kindle or e-reader. You can search for a specific title or author in a specific format, or browse through genres and librarian-curated guides like new releases, kids’ classics, books by Black authors, queer stories, and more.
The app was created in June 2017 and is the most popular library app, likely because of its wide selection and its simple, clean design. In less than six years, over one billion books have been checked out through the app. In fact, the billionth title checked out through Libby happened on January 21 of this year (An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lepena, if you’re interested).
Much like the physical books in the library, your library system has a specific number of digital copies available of each e-book or audiobook it offers, so some popular titles might not be available at a moment’s notice. But never fear–on Libby, you can put titles on hold just like you would at your library, and the app will let you know about how long you’ll have to wait for that book and will notify you when it’s available.
In fact, notifications are one of the best parts of using a library app: Libby will notify you when the due date for a book you’ve checked out is coming up (so you can re-check it out if you need to), and if a book you were searching for has been added. It’ll also keep track of what you’ve previously borrowed, and you can make personal book lists, like “TBR,” “favorite middle grade,” or whatever you want!
Pro Tip: If you’re as big a book nerd as the staff at Wildling, you know that sometimes you hear about a great book and you simply must read it right now! In that case, may we recommend belonging to multiple library systems (the author of this post belongs to five *humble brag*) so that you’re more likely to find an available copy of what you want when you want it.
The app is available for Android, iOS and Windows devices.
Hoopla is another popular library app that offers e-books and audiobooks, but it also offers thousands of graphic novels and comics, music, movies, and TV shows. Some of the newest, most popular music albums (like Taylor Swift’s Midnights) or TV shows are available on Hoopla, and just like all the other library apps you love, they’re all free.
Hoopla also offers something called “BingePass,” which gives you days of unlimited access to online content like The Great Courses, the Highlights collection, Kidz Vidz, storytime videos for kids, and more.
Hoopla also offers “Kids Mode” so parents can feel totally comfortable letting their kids browse the vast selection of music, TV, and movies.
If Hoopla isn’t available from your local library, there’s a good chance that they offer access to Kanopy instead. Kanopy doesn’t offer books, but it’s specifically for videos. Through Kanopy, you can stream over 30,000 classic and indie movies, documentaries, and television series.
So get downloading!
Remember those times when your doctor’s appointment was taking longer than expected or you got stuck at the DMV and you cursed yourself for forgetting your book at home? Thanks to library apps, as long as you have a phone with you, you’ll never be without a book to read or an album to listen to or a movie to watch. Library apps are free, easy to use and access, and full of hours of entertainment and information.
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