Do you swipe through e-books more than social media? Are you such an experienced audiobook listener that your 1.75x preferred listening speed is as much a part of you as your birthday? (Do you not know what any of this means? No worries! Keep reading to learn more.)
If you’re part of the mass of Wisconsinites that borrowed 7.2 million e-books and e-audiobooks in 2021, you probably know all about how services like Libby and Hoopla can make reading materials more accessible. All you need is an up-to-date library card and you’re in business.
Melody Clark, project and consortia manager at the Wisconsin Library Services, told Wisconsin Public Radio in January that the desire for e-materials was initially driven by the onset of the pandemic. The number of digital library users increased by 113% as libraries promoted their e-materials in the face of closures and reduced services. And compared to 2019, last year saw a 20% increase in total circulated e-materials.
But it’s not just the pandemic that has seen more of us turn to our phones and tablets for library materials. Madeline Page, the assistant director at the Hudson Public Library, added in the Wisconsin Public Radio piece that many newer cars not having CD players anymore also leads people to seek out e-audiobooks instead of physical books on CD.
Of course, none of this means that physical materials are on the decline, or that libraries are in danger of being replaced by the internet! While Wisconsin’s digital collection was the seventh-largest OverDrive library in the world in 2021 — OverDrive is the company that makes the Libby e-book borrowing app — people still visit libraries across the state every day to borrow physical materials, study in a quiet place, use the internet, attend programs, and seek help from the information professionals inside the building. (That’s us!)
If you’re not already a user of Libby or Hoopla, here’s how to get started. You’ll need your library card and PIN to use both services and a West Bend card specifically to use Hoopla (unless the library where you got your card also offers Hoopla access). Please visit or give us a call at (262) 335-5151 with any questions!
What is it? Libby is a mobile app that offers the Wisconsin's Digital Library collection of e-books, audiobooks, and magazines.
Where do I get it? Head to your device’s app store and search for “Libby.” If you're on a Kindle Fire, the installation process is a little different — go here for step-by-step instructions.
How does it work? With Libby, you can have up to 10 items checked out and 10 items on hold at a time. Most e-books and magazines can be checked out for up to 21 days, while e-audiobooks have a 14-day checkout limit. There are no overdue fines — materials are automatically returned at the end of the checkout period if you don’t renew or return them early.
Anything else I should know? If you’re not on Libby yet, you might be using OverDrive, an app made by the same company. The OverDrive app is in the process of being phased out, so users should make the switch to Libby by the end of 2022. Head to this website for tips to make the transition, or go here to watch tutorial videos about Libby.
What is it? Hoopla is an app that houses a broad collection of digital media offerings, including e-books, e-audiobooks, movies, magazines, and comics.
Where do I get it? Head to your device’s app store and search for “Hoopla,” or visit hoopladigital.com. In addition to your phone or tablet, you can find Hoopla on the Roku Store, or you can stream to your TV using Chromecast.
How does it work? Hoopla allows 5 checkouts per month, but unlike Libby, there’s no waiting time — everything is available all the time (with only rare exceptions). There are no overdue fines, since materials are automatically returned at the end of the checkout period.
Anything else I should know? At this time, Hoopla is only available to West Bend adult cardholders.
Have more questions? Visit us at the library or give us a call at (262) 335-5151.
This post last updated on July 28, 2022.