Sunday, October 20, 2019

A Guide to Digital Media Apps at Your Public Library: Introduction

As I’ve become more and more of a digital reader of both ebooks and downloadable audiobooks, I have become interested in comparing and contrasting all of the different apps libraries use to make these materials available to their patrons. Having spent a lot of time using trial and error to learn how these apps work, I thought it might be helpful for others to have access to everything I have learned. Thus, this guide to using digital media apps was born.

This guide covers the four most popular digital media apps used in public libraries: Overdrive (including the Libby app), Hoopla, RB Digital, and Cloud Library. Since each of these apps has its own extensive help documentation, I have avoided going into too many technical details. Rather, I have tried to provide an overview of the capabilities of each app and to highlight as many of the important or unique features as I can. 

In almost every instance, my comments in this guide are based on my own firsthand experience using these apps. In a couple of cases, I was limited by the availability of certain formats or features at my local libraries, and I sought out screenshots from libraries’ websites to help inform my descriptions of these. If I have given advice that runs contrary to what you have experienced using these apps, please let me know, as I want this to guide to be useful to users of many libraries, and not just the ones I happen to use. 

As requested by my Instagram followers, this guide will be available both as a series of blog posts and as a .PDF booklet. The series of blog posts will publish this week, and the .PDF booklet will be released after the fourth and final section of the guide has gone live.

All posts will be linked here as they are published:

Part One - Overdrive & Libby
Part Two - Hoopla Digital
Part Three - Cloud Library
Part Four - RB Digital 

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