The Libby eBook reader app gets some updates and a new digital book club

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NEWS – We’ve covered the awesome Libby by Overdrive before, but as a quick refresher, Libby is an app that will let you download free eBooks and audiobooks from your local library. All you need is a library card. Since we can’t actually go to our library right now due to COVID-19 shelter in place restrictions, it’s the perfect time to use the app to get some books to take your mind off current events.

I wanted to share that since I last talked about Libby last summer, the app has made a few exciting updates! With these changes, the company hopes to continue making e-reading more accessible and help public libraries modernize. Some of the new features include:

  • Lucky Day: Allows libraries to designate digital copies of high-demand, waitlisted titles in their collection as immediately available for patrons. Participating libraries’ patrons can “skip-the-line” and instantly find, borrow and read these titles on a first-come, first-served basis through the Libby app.
  • Instant Digital Card (IDC): A lack of convenience often deters people from going to get a library card, so Libby has introduced IDC to help consumers get one in under 30 seconds. Users simply enter their phone number, which is cross-referenced with the area code for their city, and you’re approved in seconds—giving you instant access to a huge collection of e-books and audiobooks.

You might be wondering how IDC works. Libraries need to decide that they want to opt into the IDC sign up, so it may not be available in your area just yet. To check, go to Menu > See Library Cards > Add A Card, then tap I Would Like A Library Card. If the IDC capability is available in your area, you’ll see Use My Phone Number as an option. The offering is currently available in 100 library systems around the US, and more than 370K people have signed up for an IDC through the program since it started 18 months ago.

In other exciting Libby news, the latest Big Library Read program is underway, which is a worldwide digital book club that connects readers with the same ebook at the same time without any waitlists or holds. This round’s title is Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic, a memoir written by stand-up comedian Michael McCreary who shares his experiences of living on the spectrum and dealing with trying situations as someone who doesn’t “look” autistic. Although the current program is ending on April 13, the next one will take place in May or June so keep checking back to the Big Library Read website!

Stay safe and happy reading Gadgeteers!

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