It’s A Different Libby

Victoria Song writes for the Verge about her love of the Libby app and the library to which it gives you access.

For the uninitiated, Libby is a free (!) library app powered by OverDrive. You can borrow or put holds on magazines and books of all sorts from your local libraries. (Multiple!) All you need is a library card. For some libraries, you can punch your phone number into the Libby app to get one. If you don’t know what to read, you can browse through curated recommendations. It’s not the same as those sticky notes you’ll find at a bookstore, where the staff write why they loved a particular book on display, but it’s better than Goodreads. And while you can read directly from the Libby app, you could alternatively send ebooks to your Kindle to get that sweet, sweet E Ink goodness.

I heart Libby, too, but I’ve found that it has a dramatically different catalogue based on where you are using it. I wondered why I kept seeing type-ahead suggestions for authors I was looking for, but then the search results would come up blank. So, I tried an experiment. I changed my library location to New York (where Song is located) and all of a sudden, started seeing numerous books I couldn’t find when I was using my local library card. Entire bibliographies by authors — like Thomas Merton — that didn’t even have a single book in my country library. Unfortunately, without a library card, I was unable to use the New York library system, but the experiment left me with a taste of what is possible.


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