Borrowing e-books from the library

E-bookMost public libraries offer a free e-book borrowing service. It’s available to everyone of course, but this service can be especially valuable to seniors  who are home bound and those with visual handicaps.

There are two services available for libraries to offer — cloudLibrary and Overdrive. Some libraries offer one service or the other. I’m lucky: my library offers both.

Libraries buy the e-books from cloudLibrary and Overdrive, so the selection available through the library is limited to the titles purchased by the library. Budget permitting, libraries can elect to buy multiple copies of e-books if they expect high demand; one copy can only be checked out to one person at a time.

Libraries set their own policies for borrowing e-books through cloudLibrary and OverDrive. My library lets you check out 6 at a time, place holds on 6 at a time, and keep e-books for 21 days. Your library could have different policies.

To use these services, you download the free apps from your library’s website (or an app store) to your computer, tablet, smartphone, or other device. During setup you enter your library’s information and your library card number. It’s pretty easy although some seniors might need help if they haven’t used computers much.

Once you’re signed up, you can find out what e-books are available from your library by searching the app. If you’re looking for a particular book, you can search by author and title. Or you can browse the library’s holdings in your favorite genre.

I’ve found that reading books on an electronic device is an acquired taste. I can do it, but still prefer to read traditional books printed on paper. But that’s just me.

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