eBooks

  • borrow ebooks

    I recently learned that Google has made finding free legal eBooks that can be borrowed from the library easier than ever. I was curious how well it worked, so I experimented with the feature. Here is what I discovered for both desktop and mobile versions.

    Desktop Computer3.12 Desktop Version

    After entering a book title on Google, the feature appears on the right side within what is known as the Google Knowledge Graph display. Basically, there is a box on the right side of the screen next to the search results. The box contains information about the book including ratings and reviews from various websites, book summary, publication date, author, genre, awards (if any), online bookstores where it is available to be purchased and FINALLY the Borrow ebook section.

    Be aware that if the book title is not available from the library, you will not see the Borrow ebook section. However, keep reading for additional search quirks.

    If the eBook is available, you will see a list of libraries within your geolocated range or, in other words, libraries nearby. If the wrong libraries are displayed, you can change your location by clicking on the Edit Location link and entering your zip code or city name. The library list will then reload.

    Don’t see Provo City Library listed? No problem.

    Provo City Library’s eBook holdings are found within the Utah’s Online Library collection. Utah’s Online Library gives Provo City Library card holders access to both the Provo City Library eBook collection and the Utah State Library collection.

    After searching, click on Utah’s Online Library to either borrow the item immediately or place a hold which will then notify you via email when the eBook is available.

    Please note, to borrow free legal eBooks from the online library, you will need a Provo City Library card. Library cards from other Utah libraries can also be used to check out eBooks from Utah’s Online Library, but will not give you access to Provo City Library’s collection.

     

    Mobile Device3.12 Mobile Version

    After searching Google on a mobile device, look for the block of color in the search results that shows the title and author of the book. Just below the title and author is a mini menu.

    Tap on Get Book in the mini menu. Then look for Borrow ebook. This section can be found just below the list of online bookstores.Tap on Utah’s Online Library. You will then be redirected to the eBook entry for the title you entered. Here you can either borrow the item immediately or place a hold which will then notify you via email when the eBook is available.

    Please note, to check out free legal eBooks from the online library, you will need a Provo City Library card. Library cards from other Utah libraries can also be used to check out eBooks from Utah’s Online Library, but will not give you access to Provo City Library’s collection.

    My Discoveries

    Through trial and error, I have discovered some quirks to be aware of with this search feature.

    Only OverDrive: There are other eBook collections out there including RBdigital which you also have access to with your Provo City Library card. However, Google search currently only works with OverDrive, so you will not see any results for other eBook collections.

    No audiobooks: Even though Utah’s Online Library also offers free legal audiobooks to borrow and listen to, Google’s search feature only works for eBooks. No results will come up if there is an audiobook but no eBook.

    Books made for the silver screen: Books made into movies or TV series don’t always return results. For example, I tried searching for Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library which is a movie and a book. The title does not return any free eBooks even though the book is available in Utah’s Online Library collection. However, a search for the second book in the series, Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Race, which does not have a movie version, does come up.

    I have discovered that sometimes, adding “book” to the end of the title will help return the correct results, but not always.

    Correct titles: You know how Google is great for finding something even if you can’t quite remember what it’s called? Well that doesn’t work so well when finding eBooks. I tried experimenting with variations on book titles with poor results. For example, I search for Mistborn but no eBooks came up. However, when I changed my search to Mistborn: The Final Empire, then it came up.Tip: if you can’t remember the title, search for it on Google. After finding the correct title, perform a new search.

    Vague titles: Titles that are not specific enough to return good results can also be problematic. For example, Hunted. Just entering “hunted” in the search box will not return any eBook results. However, try adding “book” to the end of the title or the author’s name and you will have far better luck.

    My Conclusions

    While this is a handy new, automatic feature built into Google, the results are still a little sporadic. Readers that frequently look for books by searching Google will find this a useful tool. However, if you really want to know if an eBook is available, I would recommend directly searching Utah’s Online Library (https://utahsonlinelibrary.overdrive.com/). For me, I think this is a great new feature for browsing and chancing across interesting books, but it is less useful when I am looking for something specific.

  •  scottish mysteries

    It could be because I miss living in Scotland, but I've been drawn to books with Scottish narrators lately, and since I'm a mystery fan, I've found myself listening to Scottish mysteries. Whether you like the cozy stories or tough detectives, there's a series here for every mystery reader.

     

    5.25 Death of a GossipDEATH OF A GOSSIP
    by M.C. Beaton
    1985

    Constable Hamish MacBeth investigates the murder of Lady Jane Hamilton who has a nasty habit of digging up dirt on the residents and guests of Lochdubh. 

     

    5.25 Raven BlackRAVEN BLACK
    by Ann Cleeves
    2006

    When the body of a teenage girl turns up on the Shetland Islands, Inspector Jimmy Perez launches an investigation into the killing, taking him into the heart of sinister secrets from the past. 

     

    5.25 The Sunday Philosphy ClubTHE SUNDAY PHILOSOPHY CLUB
    by Alexander McCall Smith
    2004

    When Isabel Dalhousie witnesses the death of a young man falling from the balcony of the Edinburgh concert hall, she decides to take it upon herself to solve the murder. 

     

    5.25 Resurrection MenRESURRECTION MEN
    by Ian Rankin
    (2001)

    Sent to a rehabilitation school after a serious mistake, Inspector John Rebus discovers that his classmates are plotting a drug heist and might be connected to Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke's investigation to an art dealer's murder. 

     

    5.25 A Wee Murder in My ShopWEE MURDER IN MY SHOP
    by Fran Stewart
    (2015)

    While searching for hidden treasures in the Scottish Highlands, shop owner Peggy Winn purchases an old tartan shawl that unexpectedly comes with the ghost of a 14th-century Scotsman, who, once she returns to Vermont, helps her discover who murdered her ex-boyfriend.

     
  • suspend holds

    If you’re a frequent library user, you might be familiar with this dilemma: there are tons of books you want to read, but other people want to read them too. So, like the industrious library user you are, you put them all on hold. 

    And then, because the universe doesn’t care about things like how long it takes to read a book, ALL YOUR HOLDS COME IN AT ONCE. And maybe you have more time to read than I do, but between my family, my work, and my need for some semblance of sleep, I haven’t yet been able to get through nine books in three weeks. But it’s painful to return something, knowing that you’ll go to the back of the line and you’ll wait another six weeks (or months!) to get that book again. 

    So what’s an intrepid reader to do? The answer is easy. Suspend your holds! 

    When you suspend a hold, you keep your place in line but allow others to bump in front of you until you’re ready for your hold. This works slightly differently in our catalog and with Libby (digital books), so I’ll walk you through both processes. 

    PHYSICAL MATERIALS 

    For materials managed exclusively through our catalog – print books, audiobooks on CD, etc. – the suspend holds feature keeps your place in line until a specific date. If you reach the top of the holds queue while your hold is suspended, other people will jump in front of you until the hold reactivates. 

    To suspend a hold through the library’s catalog, log in to your library account and click the “my holds” tab. Here you can see all of your digital holds. 

    Suspend Holds Pic 1

     

    Simply select the title you’d like to suspend, and choose a date when you’d like the hold to reactivate. This can be a little bit of a guessing game, but if you know that you’ve got a vacation or something concrete planned you can select a time when you know you’ll be available to give that book all the attention it deserves. If your reading schedule opens up unexpectedly, you can always cancel your hold suspension and you will immediately start working your way up the hold list again. 

    Suspend Holds Pic 2

     

    DIGITAL MATERIALS THROUGH LIBBY 

    If you do some of your reading through Libby by Overdrive (and if you don’t…why not? It’s amazing!), the Libby app has its own hold suspension system. It works similarly; you keep working your way up the hold queue while your hold is suspended, and if you reach the top slot Libby will allow one person at a time ahead of you until your hold is reactivated. To suspend a hold in Libby, go to your shelf and then your holds tab. Click on the red/blue “manage hold” square on the title you’d like to suspend. 

    suspend holds pic 3

     

    From here you can cancel or suspend your hold. I suggest you suspend.

    suspend holds pic 4

     

    This is now the step that doesn’t feel intuitive to me. You will be taken to a screen that gives you some information about your hold; click on the button in the lower right corner that says “active”, and then choose how long you’d like to suspend your hold. 

    suspend holds pic 5

     

    You will then be given a confirmation screen. If you immediately regret your decision, you can click “update hold suspension” and go back and rethink your life choices. 

    suspend holds pic 6

     

    Suspending holds is still a bit of a guessing game; unless you’re really diligent about knowing your place in every hold queue, there’s still a chance that your best-laid hold suspensions will all activate at the same time and you’ll still need to figure out how you can listen to a 48-hour audiobook in three days and still sleep and interact with other humans (I’m going to go ahead and tell you that you can’t. It’s just impossible. Forego human contact or resign yourself to jumping back into that hold queue.). 

    Still, it’s a tool in your belt. Place holds with abandon, and use the suspend feature wrangle them into a manageable state. Your personal reading queue will thank you. 

     
  • meet libby 01

     

    I have a new best friend, and her name is Libby. 

    For a long time, I have loved checking out eBooks and downloadable audiobooks from the library. I love that it's fast! I love that it's free! I don't always love that things automatically get returned at the end of three weeks whether I'm finished or not, but I do love that it's impossible to get late fees on electronic materials. I love our library's selection through OverDrive. 

    But I'm going to be honest for a second: I haven't always loved OverDrive's interface. It often feels like there are a few too many steps to get to a point where I can actually listen on my phone. How do I get to my bookshelf again? As a champion for utilizing these resources, I've always felt like the hurdles were worth it, but I completely understand how new users might get frustrated with the numerous steps it can take to get from finding an eBook to actually reading it. 

    But now Libby is here, and Libby is different.

    Libby by OverDrive is OverDrive's new, streamlined app that eliminates all the things I hated about checking out eBooks and Audiobooks. Libby remembers your library card so you don't have to sign in every time. Libby can remember that you want eBooks sent to your Kindle or iPad but audiobooks downloaded on your phone, and she does it right every time.

    With Libby, you're a search and a click away from reading or listening to the book you want. The steps go like this: 

    1. Install the Libby by OverDrive App on your device. 
    2. Search for your library and sign in with your current library card (Libby can even remember more than one card and toggle between them, if you'd like). You only have to do this step once. 
    3. Search for a title you're interested in. 
    4. If the title is available, tap "borrow." Libby will send the book to your bookshelf according to your preferences. 
    5. Once you've borrowed a title, you can go to your bookshelf to start reading or listening immediately, or you can keep browsing. 

    Libby is still part of the OverDrive family, which means that you'll see the same collection you've always seen in OverDrive, with new titles added all the time. There are few features that don't sync up with OverDrive's old app (like recommending purchases to the library), but if all you're doing in the OverDrive app is reading or listening to books, you're going to love Libby. 

    She's my best friend, but I'm happy to share. Happy reading!

  • overdrive

     Can we say it enough? Overdrive is awesome! So here’s another shameless plug.

    Even though I use Overdrive almost daily, I’ll be the first to admit that the process of signing into the app and actually downloading titles isn’t the most user-friendly. But don’t give up! Overdrive provides a platform for ebooks and audiobooks, complimenting and expanding the library’s physical collection.  

    Here’s a beginner’s guide to using this great library resource:

    Overdrive Logo1- Download the Overdrive app onto your favorite device.

    Overdrive can be accessed on a desktop computer, but the easiest way is to download the app onto a phone or tablet.

     

     

     

    Overdrive 22- Sign into the app using the “SIGN IN” option.

    Your account was created when you signed up for a library card since the state of Utah has paid for the use of Overdrive for all Utah library card holders. The Provo library uses some of its budget to make additional items available to Provo City Library patrons. 

    You will be asked to sign in with your library card number and PIN.

     

     

     

     

    Overdrive 3.33 - Sign into Utah's Online Library.

    Once you’ve selected your library and signed into the app, you will be asked to use the same information to sign into Utah’s Online Library. This is the database Overdrive draws from.  

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Overdrive 44 – Find your bookshelf.

    After all that signing in, you can tap on the 3-line menu icon in the upper left corner and go to your bookshelf. It will be empty and waiting.  

    If you choose “Add a title,” you will be taken back to Utah’s Online Library to search for materials.  

    When items have been downloaded, they will conveniently appear on this Bookshelf page. 

     

     

     

     

    Overdrive 55 – Search for something amazing.

    The easiest way to find something on Utah’s Online Library is to type the title directly into the search box.  

    If you are just browsing, you can search collections by tapping the menu icon in the upper right corner.  

    If your search brings up too many possibilities, you can filter results. My favorite way to narrow down results is to filter by type, ebook or audiobook, and then by availability.  

    Tap interesting titles to see a summary, or to read/hear a sample. 

     

     

    Overdrive 66- Check something out.

    Just like a physical book checked out from the library, materials available through Overdrive usually have a limited number of copies.  

    If a title is available, you can choose “borrow,” and the screen will send you to the Loans page where the item can be downloaded to the app for reading or listening.  

    If a title is unavailable, you can choose “place a hold,” and will be directed to the Holds page. When a book becomes available that you have put on hold, it will be automatically checked out to you.  

    One of the great things about overdrive is you never have to worry about late fees. When the lending period has expired, the ebook or audiobook is automatically returned.  

    *NOTE: you can have 10 items checked-out and 5 on hold at any one time

    Now you can use this amazing resource! Please come visit the library with further questions or to get great recommendations. Remember that the library’s online catalog will list if an item you're searching for is available on Overdrive.