Did you know that last year, our public library celebrated 10 years of having downloadable books? Over the years, changes have made it easier to access books from home, school, vacation or anywhere with a connected device.
Our overall usage of downloadable materials continues to grow, and we’ve made adding them a major priority. So I wanted to answer some basic questions about downloadable books at the Bartholomew County Public Library.
Can I get e-books and downloadable audiobooks from the library?
Yes, you can. For users of all ages, the library subscribes to the services of Overdrive and Hoopla.
What are audiobooks and e-books?
Audiobooks are narrated books that you listen to, and e-books are read on-screen like a traditional printed book.
Are Overdrive and Hoopla free?
Yes, like all library resources, these services are available free to library cardholders. Cards are free to residents and students in Bartholomew County. Those residing in the immediate surrounding counties can qualify for a free library card as well. The library also provides free instant “digital access” library cards for our online resources. Ask about these at any public desk at the library.
Do Overdrive and Hoopla have apps?
Yes, Hoopla’s app is Hoopla Digital, and Overdrive has two apps, Libby and Overdrive, which have the same titles, just different user experiences. All apps are available for Android, Apple and Kindle Fire devices.
What if I have a Kindle?
Kindle Fires can download apps, so use Overdrive’s apps and the Hoopla app to download items.
If you have Kindle that is not a Fire, check out from our Overdrive catalog (barth.overdrive.com) on a computer or tablet, and then follow the steps to wirelessly transfer your books to your Kindle.
Does the library have online magazines?
Yes, we subscribe to a service called RBDigital, which has an app for full-screen and full-color reading of new and back issues of popular magazines. New users should first sign up for an RBDigital account by clicking our RBDigital link at mybcpl.org/resources.
What if I just use a computer?
Overdrive, Hoopla and RBDigital can all be used on a computer connected to the internet. Direct links to each site can be found at mybcpl.org/resources.
How are Overdrive and Hoopla different?
Overdrive operates more like a traditional library checkout system, as our staff selects titles to add to the collection. This means that we can take suggestions for items to add. You can even make suggestions while browsing the Overdrive catalog (barth.overdrive.com). Patron suggestions drive much of our purchasing in Overdrive, so newer releases and popular titles abound in our Overdrive collection.
Hoopla, on the other hand, controls what items it makes available. However, Hoopla offers formats for checkout that are not available in Overdrive, such as movies, TV shows and music albums. While Hoopla has new and popular books, it also has significantly more old or “obscure” nonfiction books than Overdrive. Because of Hoopla’s model, our library has a certain number of checkouts allowed system-wide in a day. These limits reset at the end of the day. A user can check out eight Hoopla items in a month.
Are there any other e-book resources for kids?
Yes, the library subscribes to Tumble Books, which has a selection of e-books available for kids, including story books, puzzles, games and read-alongs that show the words being read on-screen.
I’m interested in using these services for my gadgets, but I don’t know how to get started. Does the library staff help with this?
Yes. If you’re just looking for help guides, there is a big “tutorials” button on our website, mybcpl.org, with help videos, and we have PDF help guides at mybcpl.org/resources. Stop by the library’s reference desk with questions and, if needed, we can set up a one-hour “Book A Librarian” help session.
If you have any questions about how to get started with downloads, let us know.
Tyler Munn is reference supervisor at the Bartholomew County Public Library. He can be reached at [email protected] or 812-379-1266.