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10 frequently asked questions about the Libby app answered by our Digital Bookmobile Team

Our team finds so much joy in helping library patrons learn how to borrow digital materials through the Libby app. Every week, we host four 1.5 hour Libby webinars to get users up to speed on Libby basics and a few tips and tricks to help you get the most of out of the Libby app, but our favorite part of our webinars is answering user questions about the app.

Here are the most popular questions that users have when attending our webinars:

What is the difference between OverDrive and Libby?

Both Libby and the OverDrive app allow you to borrow and read the same digital content from your library, but they look and feel different.

Some of the things that we think sets Libby apart are:

  • Libby’s simple onboarding process enables you to sign into Libby with a library card in seconds, without ever needing to create an account.
  • If you have multiple library cards, you can find all of your loans and holds on a single shelf, making it easier than ever to find your current read.
  • Libby’s tagging feature allows you to create as many lists as you would like. So, instead of being limited to a wish list and history, you can create lists of cookbooks with recipes you enjoyed, save a list of prospective book club titles, or keep track of all of the titles that you have read for professional development. The tagged lists that you can create are endless!

Can I renew books in Libby if I don’t finish them in time?
You can renew titles within 72 hours of the loan’s due date following these instructions on our help site. In the case that someone else has the book on hold, you’ll see a Place Hold button (instead of Renew) which means you need to wait to borrow the book again. Luckily, Libby remembers where you left off in a book, so you won’t need to go back to find your place.

If I “deliver a title later” for 7 days, will I be the next person in line to receive the book?

In most cases, yes. The title that you deliver later will go to the next person in line, then it will come back to you. However, if users in line ahead of you also delivered the same title later, the title will go through the list of users ahead of you first, then make it’s way back to you.

If you are ever itching to read but stuck on a waitlist, you can browse available titles in the meantime.

Can I read on my Kindle device?

You can read most borrowed books with Kindle (available in the U.S. only) using Libby’s Read with Kindle feature. Sending titles to your Kindle device does require you to sign into your Amazon account, so be sure to have your Amazon credentials (email and password) handy.

Can I delete a single tag from one of my tagged lists?

Of course! If you would like to untag a single title from a list, you can follow these instructions on our help site. Untagging a title is as easy as a swipe of a finger.

Do OverDrive and Libby sync?

I like to say that OverDrive and Libby are siblings that speak similar, but different languages. They talk to each other enough that your loans and holds will sync across both platforms, but your reading progress within a loan will not.

In our most recent update, OverDrive users can now sync their wish list from OverDrive to Libby using these steps on our help site!

Can I recommend titles for purchase?

You can’t recommend books to your library in Libby quite yet, but we’re working on this feature. Some libraries do allow users to recommend titles for purchase on their OverDrive website.

Can I change the narrator’s speed in an audiobook?

You can speed up or slow down audiobook narrators to best suit your preference with the steps in this help article.

Can I read on my phone and my laptop?

If you have a Windows computer, Mac computer, or a Chromebook, you can use Libby in your web browser at libbyapp.com. Both the Libby app and Libbyapp.com will automatically sync your loans, holds, book progress, and tags between devices, as long as you have an internet connection and used a setup code when setting Libby up on each device.

Can I add more than one library card?

If you have a valid library card to more than one library that uses OverDrive services, you can add them all to Libby to access all of your library’s digital collections. If you would like to add additional library cards to Libby, you can follow these directions on the help site.

If you have questions regarding Libby, you can browse Libby’s Help Site, DM us on Instagram at @DigitalBookmobile, or contact Technical Support.

Happy Reading!

10 US Literary Destinations for 2022

Marissa and I are very excited to get back on the road with the Digital Bookmobile in 2022. In preparation for this return to travel, we’ve been making a list of places we want to visit like crazy. Here is my top 10 list of literary destinations to visit across the US.

10. Kansas City Public Library (Missouri) – Not to sound basic, but I’d love to take a picture with their parking garage. Now, this isn’t a normal, boring parking garage. Their garage looks like a giant bookshelf with 25 feet tall spines highlighting titles like To Kill a Mockingbird, Invisible Man, and The Lord of the Rings.

9. Rowan Oak (Mississippi) – Home of William Faulkner, author of The Sound and the Fury, this home stands as he restored it in the 1930s. Faulkner’s works employed many literary devices making them captivating (and at times challenging) reads. Visiting his home is a wonderful chance to see what exactly was inspiring the writer as he weaved complex tales of life and tragedy.

8. Hotel Monteleone (Louisiana) – Marissa and I definitely make great food a central part to our travel. The Hotel Monteleone houses the Carousel Bar and Lounge, “The Classic New Orleans Hotel Bar.” Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, and Truman Capote have all been said to have stayed here, or enjoyed drinks at the bar. What a great way to enjoy local music, cuisine, and cocktails, all while also connecting to literary history!

7. Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum (Florida) – Home of the prolific American writer Ernest Hemingway, this Key West destination has so many unique points of interest. The Old Man and the Sea was the first “classic” I ever read growing up, and since then I’ve felt a strange kinship whenever Hemingway comes up. I also always find myself wanting to visit historic homes, either to see that living history or to gain the perspective of the long-gone owner. If all this — and the beauty of Key West — weren’t enough, the grounds are home to Hemingway’s feline great-grandchildren: a mysterious breed of six-toed cats.

6. Orchard House (Massachusetts) – The home of Louisa May Alcott, and where she set Little Women, is now a public historic site. I know — shocker — I’ve got another historic home on my list, but this house looks like a well-rounded experience, whether you’re a fan of Little Women, a lover of living history, or just looking for a way to spend an afternoon. Alcott was not afraid to fight for social justice, and during her time she was involved in women’s suffrage, feminism, abolition, and education reform. Today, this legacy is still upheld in Orchard House’s educational programming.

5. The Emily Dickinson Museum (Massachusetts) – While I’m not much of one for poetry, two of my favorite authors are the poets on this list. Emily Dickinson’s work is unique and unlike so much of the poetry taught. She uses dashes and random capitalization, quirky imagery and word choice to blend together poems that speak to me in such a distinct way. Aside from her poetry, I find Dickinson’s personal life fascinating as well. She was a recluse in body but an adventurer in her correspondences. She was a botanist in her own space. And of course, she was deeply private, even swearing her sister to a pact that upon Emily’s death, she burned her cache of personal letters. While the museum is currently closed for major restoration, it’s set to reopen in Spring of 2022!

4. Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden (Massachusetts) – Looking at my list at this point, I’m seeing that I’m going to be pretty busy once we get to Massachusetts. There’s just a whole host of things to do in the state, including the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden. The garden was opened in 2002 and features over 30 bronze statues. There is also the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss museum on the property, featuring four rooms, focused on Seuss’ life, starting with his childhood in Springfield, MA.

3. Poe Museum (Virginia) – The museum dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe was opened in 1922 only a few blocks from Poe’s first home in the Shockoe Bottom District. The museum is host to manuscripts, letters, and personal belongings of America’s Shakespeare, Poe. I’m also excited to visit The Raven Room – a gallery of rejected illustrations created for The Raven. Poe’s poetry has always spoken to me, with his forlorn phrases and lovesick lines.

2. The Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum (Alabama) – I promise this is the last historic house on the list… This is the only museum dedicated to the lives of American authors F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. While the couple had several homes across the globe, this one remains near Zelda’s childhood home and is dedicated to celebrating the life and works of the couple. The lower level of the home houses the museum, while the upstairs is split into two separate apartments that can be rented out via Airbnb. Not only do you get a feel of their lives in the museum, you can even stay there!

1. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (Massachusetts) – Created by Eric Carle, this one-of-a-kind museum celebrates picture books and picture book illustrations from all over the world. This museum sits at the top of my list because so many of my foundational memories growing up are from being with my mom, in the library or cozy at home with our owned or borrowed picture books, exploring the world of reading together. My love of reading and art was formed with the illustrations pressed between those well-loved pages, and I cannot wait to visit this museum.

Well, that’s the list! Those are my top 10 literary destinations in the US for 2022. Marissa and I are excited to return to the road and to see so many amazing people while getting to talk about books and Libby! Let us know if you’ve been to any of these spots, or plan to visit them after reading my list. You can reach Marissa and I on Instagram, @digitalbookmobile.

Catch up on your 2021 reading goals with these short and sweet reads

Is it just me, or does the reality of the lack of progress on our reading goals always become painfully obvious by the end of June?

I usually start off strong in the beginning of the year, devouring all the new books I acquire over the holidays. However, the time I spend reading directly correlates to how beautiful it is outside. By late March, reading sessions next to the fireplace turn into tossing a frisbee on the beach instead. Once people start expressing their shock that “it’s June already?!” I realize that I’m a few books behind on my reading goals.

That’s why every July, I stick to reading books that are shorter than 250 pages or listening to audiobooks that are less than 5 hours long. By focusing on small books, I can explore more authors, more topics, and get back on track to reach the finish line strong.

I know what you are thinking: do you really spend all of July reading classics? While classics are often short and sweet, you don’t need to limit yourself to classics to read or listen to a book in one sitting. Here are six books that prove that even newer titles can come in small packages:

Brood by Jackie Polzin | 240 pages | 4 hours 50 minutes

Over the course of a single year, our nameless narrator heroically tries to keep her small brood of four chickens alive despite the seemingly endless challenges that caring for another creature entails. From the forty-below nights of a brutal Minnesota winter to a sweltering summer which brings a surprise tornado, she battles predators, bad luck, and the uncertainty of a future that may not look anything like the one she always imagined.

Do You Mind if I Cancel? by Gary Janetti | 176 pages | 3 hours 39 minutes

Gary Janetti, the writer and producer for some of the most popular television comedies of all time and creator of one of the most wickedly funny Instagram accounts there is, now turns his skills to the page in a hilarious and poignant book chronicling the pains and indignities of everyday life.

Gary spends his twenties in New York, dreaming of starring on soap operas while in reality working at a hotel where he lusts after an unattainable colleague and battles a bellman who despises it when people actually use a bell to call him. He chronicles the torture of finding a job before the internet when you had to talk on the phone all the time, and fantasizes, as we all do, about who to tell off when he finally wins an Oscar.

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel | 208 pages | 4 hours 58 minutes

Talia is being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in the forested mountains of Colombia after committing an impulsive act of violence that may or may not have been warranted. She urgently needs to get out and get back home to Bogotá, where her father and a plane ticket to the United States are waiting for her. If she misses her flight, she might also miss her chance to finally be reunited with her family in the north.

Will Talia make it to Bogotá in time? And if she does, can she bring herself to trade the solid facts of her father and life in Colombia for the distant vision of her mother and siblings in America?

Little Weirds by Jenny Slate | 240 pages | 4 hours 19 minutes

To see the world through Jenny Slate’s eyes is to see it as though for the first time, shimmering with strangeness and possibility. As she will remind you, we live on an ancient ball that rotates around a bigger ball made up of lights and gasses that are science gasses, not farts (don’t be immature).

Heartbreak, confusion, and misogyny stalk this blue-green sphere, yes, but it is also a place of wild delight and unconstrained vitality, a place where we can start living as soon as we are born, and we can be born at any time. In her dazzling, impossible-to-categorize debut, Jenny channels the pain and beauty of life in writing so fresh, so new, and so burstingly alive, we catch her vision like a fever and bring it back out into the bright day with us, and everything has changed.

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw | 189 pages | 4 hours 6 minutes

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church’s double standards and their own needs and passions.

With their secret longings, new love, and forbidden affairs, these church ladies are as seductive as they want to be, as vulnerable as they need to be, as unfaithful and unrepentant as they care to be, and as free as they deserve to be.

The Ten Loves of Nishino by Hiromi Kawakami | 240 pages | 5 hours

Each woman has succumbed, even if only for an hour, to that seductive, imprudent, and furtively feline man who drifted so naturally into their lives. Still clinging to the vivid memory of his warm breath and his indecipherable sentences, ten women tell their stories as they attempt to recreate the image of the unfathomable Nishino.

Do you have a trick for catching up on your reading goals? Head over to our Instagram (@digitalbookmobile) and let us know!

Four Libby audiobook features to enhance your listening experience

When I was a kid, I much preferred listening to my mom read to me than to read a book myself. My sister, however, was the total opposite. She preferred to read at her own pace (lightning fast), with her own narration bringing the characters to life (our mother is one of many talents, voice acting is not one of them, so I can’t really blame her there). We haven’t changed all that much as adults. My sister would sooner eat mud for a year than force herself to listen to an audiobook; and although I occasionally read in the written format, much of my reading is consumed by listening.

While my love of listening likely stems from my inability to sit still long enough to read more than one chapter at a time, working on the Digital Bookmobile really shed light on how many readers there are that would not be able to enjoy their favorite pastime without audiobooks. Some of the most impactful moments I’ve had out on the road are when patrons or students that experience barriers like dyslexia or macular degeneration gain greater access to audiobooks through Libby.

In celebration of Audiobook Month, I wanted to share some of my favorite audiobook features in the Libby app.

1. Sleep Timer – Libby’s sleep timer is perfect for listeners that like to enjoy their audiobooks while they fall asleep. By setting a sleep timer, you never have to worry about losing your place if you doze off while listening.

To set a sleep timer for the first time, tap the crescent moon icon at the top right of the audiobook player. Then, choose a preset or drag on the “Fine-tune” slider to set a custom timer (5-120 minutes).

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To cancel the sleep timer, tap the crescent moon icon and select Off. Canceling a sleep timer also deletes your saved timer.

2. Playback Speed – You can adjust Libby’s playback speed to your preference. Whether a narrator speaks too fast or you just want to get that required reading a little faster, Libby lets you adjust the playback speed to suit your personal needs.

To change the playback speed in an audiobook, tap the speedometer icon. Then, choose a preset or drag on the “Fine-tune” slider to set a custom speed (0.6–3x).