Thousands of libraries worldwide use OverDrive’s digital download platform to provide library members access to audiobooks, eBooks, video, and music. Patrons do not have to go to the library to check out materials available on-line. From the comfort of home, they simply point their browsers to their library’s OverDrive page and logon with their library card account.
The interface provides a searchable database from which the user can select available items to check out. (Even though these are digital downloads, there is a limit placed on the number of copies used at the same time.) If the desired title isn’t available, users can place a hold, which will program the system to send an e-mail alert, when the item is accessible. Checked out items are stored in the OverDrive console installed on the member’s computer and expire automatically, when the lending period has ceased. Users may only check out a maximum number of titles at the same time, as explained on their library’s site.
All the items are downloaded to the member’s computer and, depending on the restrictions noted, audio may be burned to a CD or transferred to an MP3 player. The ability to transfer to an MP3 player makes these items portable and saves money on burning CDs. Generally, users are not allowed to share these items and they are certainly not allowed to distribute them in any manner that would violate the copyright.
This service is very convenient and easy to use. Before members commit to checking out an audio or video item, they can sample a brief part and skip a title, if it doesn’t appeal to them. In this way, the library comes to the patron who gains access to a myriad of audiobooks, eBooks, music, and video for free.
To find out if your library provides OverDrive digital downloads, visit the OverDrive site and perform a search, or visit your library’s site. You must be a member of your library with an account you can use on-line. If you do not possess a library card, you may be able to apply for one on-line for free. Some libraries provide electronic accounts instantly, while others may mail your card to you, or you will have to apply in person at your library.
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Some Participating Libraries: