Overdrive.com – Liberating the Public Library

Overdrive Logo

In my house, we’ve started being very diligent about ready to the kids every night before bedtime. One night I sit at Anna’s bedside and she gets to see the pictures while Matias listens and the next night we switch. After a few weeks of this, we ran out of books. Rather than buy more used kids books on Amazon.com which I’ve done in the past, I decided it was time to introduce the kids to an unlimited selection of books of all subjects, the public library.

After work one day, I picked up the kids as usual.  Knowing that my wife was running late leaving work, I figured the kids and I had enough time to stop in to the library before dinner. Although standing in line quietly is not their forte’, I managed to leave the front desk with a library card, which we promptly took to the children section and grabbed six books that would sustain us for a week or so. Getting a library card was easy, didn’t cost me anything, and now we have a new adventure we can go on together.

Later that evening I got around to reading the information packet the library provided about the various summer programs and services they offer, and I ran across a section about Overdrive.com, their online lending platform. With overdrive you could borrow eBooks and audio books, my preferred format, all from the comfort of your own home. Nice!

How do I?

After downloading the Overdrive app on my Android, I searched and found my local library which I added to my account. After the account was setup, I was able to search, filter, and borrow books up to my limit of fifteen, which the library had set. Since my brain isn’t complex enough to listen to more than one audio book in parallel, I keep my borrowing down to one or two audio books at a time.

Once you find the book you want to borrow, the process is pretty straight forward, enter your library card number, and click ‘Borrow’. If the book is unavailable you will be presented with a ‘Place Hold’ button which, just like a traditional library, put your name on the list to receive the book once it is returned. Since all audio books are automatically checked back in at their due date, the longest you should have to wait is 21 days, if you are first in the hold queue. Twenty-one days is my library’s max checkout time for digital media, your’s may vary.

One thing to watch for is when placing a hold, you are provided with an option to ‘Check out immediately once available’ which is nice, unless you already have a few checked out, then you’re just wasting time with it in your account, which could be used by someone else actually ready for the book.  This is more of a ‘be kind to other readers’ tip, rather than ‘do not do this it is evil’ type tip.

Added Bonus

I really like the fact that I can cancel my $14.95 a month Audible.com membership and get the same similar benefits for free from my local library.  Edit: I actually downgraded to the $9.95 a year plan rather than a full cancellation ,which allows me to share books with other Audible.com members.  This plan is not present on their membership page, but was presented during cancellation.  This plan allows for continued discounts on purchases as well as for continued borrowing of books among members, which is nice for books the library doesn’t have.

If you aren’t a member of your local library, by all means, get down there and say hi.  While you’re there, ask if they have Overdrive for online lending, your commute will thank you.


Mr. Carter, Where Did You Go?

It has been nearly a month since your last blog post Mr. Carter, and frankly your last post was nothing more than a list of things you did in Madison.  What gives?  Where are you?  What is so important that you must leave with such reckless abandon as to not even say good-bye?   Honestly there is nothing specific I’ve been doing, but yet I’ve stayed busy with that nothingness to the point that I have not been compelled to write, but I have been reading.

Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that. – Stephen King

I recently won an iPad Mini and have come to enjoy its size and utility. One of the first things I put on this Mini was the free Amazon Kindle app along with a few books I’ve had on my to-do list. I’ve about half-way through my first full book, and have read a couple short PDF type ebooks as well.  I’ve slowed down on my obsessive blog reading (I currently have 136 unread blog notifications in my inbox, ohh the horror) as I was being a little ridiculously focused on ‘keeping up.’  Some of the literature I’ve read has told me to stop cold-turkey,  stop reading the news, Twitter, Facebook, and all media inputs and see how it affects my life.  Amazingly, the world has continued to function without me being slightly more informed to its happenings.  I know there is a happy medium somewhere, and I’ll get there, but for now, I’m slowing down my reactionary and piece-meal consumption to a bare minimum.

As well as putting eyes on paper to increase the level of comprehensive consumption, I’ve recently discovered audio-books.   I’ve tried audio books in the past, but in my first attempt, the speaker had a ridiculous accent that I could not bear to hear for any length of time, thus souring my first audio book experience.  On this go around, I’ve learned that the speaker makes all the difference in audio books.  Since my truck has a USB input, which can read MP3s as an audio source, I’ve simply plugged in an MP3 audiobook, and it just plays the book beautifully.  It has no trouble detecting the proper order of the chapters, and it picks up where it left off when I exit the truck, or change the station.   Natalie listens with me when we are in the truck, and we’ve had some great conversations about the book we’re currently listening too, so it is a double-bonus.

While I am on a media diet, there are a couple of blogs that trickle to the top of my must-read list, and it was one of those post that I felt was speaking directly to me.  You can find it here, give it a read and let me know in the comments if feels directed towards gypsy bloggers like myself.

I’ll try to get back to you on a more regular basis my dear readers, I will try.