Meet Libby – The OverDrive Alternative

Libby:  An alternative to the OverDrive App

OverDrive has been testing a new, more user-friendly app to replace its current version.  The new app, Libby, is ready for patron use, and we will start recommending it for new OverDrive users.  It is available for newer iOS (9+) and Android devices (4.4+).  If your device runs an earlier operating system, you will need to continue using the OverDrive app.  There isn’t a Kindle version of Libby, but the app can be used on iOS/Android to send to a Kindle device – much like the current process of choosing the Kindle format at checkout in the current app.  OverDrive staff recommends picking either Libby or the OverDrive app, because the two are not perfectly synced.

What’s Missing in Libby

Some features are still in development, and others are not planned for Libby at all.  If you need any of these features, you will need to continue using the OverDrive app:

  • Streaming Video – not planned for Libby
  • Accessibility (though font face/size and page color options are available) – text to speech coming in a future edition
  • Multilingual support – planned for a future release
  • Recommend to library – planned for a future release
  • Wish list – this functionality has changed to “tags”, but will not bring your OverDrive wish list to Libby.

Getting Started

First, go to your app store and download Libby.  The first time you login, there will be a welcome screen.  Tap “Hi” to reveal the setup screen.  You can either tap “find my library” to get started, or login with an existing OverDrive account.  For the purposes of this tutorial, we will choose “find my library.”

If allowed, it will use your GPS to determine your local library.  If permission is denied, or Libby shows you the wrong library, you can search by zip code.  Select UHLS when it appears.  To see other libraries, tap the menu icon in the upper right and select “switch library.”  The app will remember the last library you added.

In order to download, you will need to add your library card to the app.  Tap the menu icon and select library cards, then sign in using your card number.  Make sure you are in the UHLS catalog before you add a UHLS card number.  To add a second library card (such as NYPL) switch to that library in the app, and then add the corresponding card number for that library.  Going forward, choosing which library card to use in the menu will determine which catalog you search.

To remove a card number go to Menu>Library Cards.  Tap on the image labeled “linked card” and select “unlink card.”  Confirm to remove the card and associated titles from the app.


There are two main views:  Library View and Shelf view.  At the bottom of the screen, you will see the Libby icon.  To the left, the word “library” is slightly larger than the word “shelf” on the right.  This is because you are currently in the library view (default).  Tap “shelf” to see loans, holds, and activity related to your library card.  Whenever you see the Libby icon in the footer, you can toggle between the library and the shelf.

Library View

On the opening screen, you can use the search box at the top for a targeted search, or you can scroll down to browse collections, genres, etc.  Each browsing section has a link to expand the view for more titles.

The menu icon (top right) contains the following options:

  • Switch Library
  • Library Cards
  • Hold Notifications
  • Download Settings (“download only on Wi-Fi” is selected by default) – choose whether to download items to your device or stream them. You must download them to use them offline.
  • Device Preferences – set whether all e-books/audiobooks on your device are handled by Libby automatically
  • Tips and Secrets
  • Feedback

Shelf  View


When you borrow a book, it is automatically downloaded to your device (unless you change this setting).  Tap “open book” to begin reading.  Please note, if you started reading this title in the OverDrive app, progress will not be synced with Libby.

Holds – view items you have joined a waiting list for.

Tags – tag books for future reading or create your own tags.

Activity – see a timeline of your activity in the app, such borrowing titles and app updates.

Navigating a Book

Tap the center of the page to reveal navigation options in the header and footer.  In the header, you can go back to the shelf view, search the book, add a bookmark, or use the menu icon to see chapters, bookmarks, and reading settings (font size, etc.).  The footer shows your progress with page numbers and a slider.  Tap the center of the page again to dismiss the menu.

Navigating an Audiobook

In the header, you can increase the speed of narration, set the sleep timer, create a bookmark, or use the menu to access chapters and bookmarks.  The back button will bring you back to the shelf view..  Use the play/pause icon and slider in the footer to control playback.

More Information

Meet Libby: A quick overview with a video.

Resource page for librarians: FAQ, marketing resources, and other helpful stuff

Your Assignment

Install Libby on your own device, or use it on one of the library devices.

  • Add the library
  • Add the card
  • Check something out and read it
  • Delete your card

Let me know if you have any questions!