RBdigital is moving to Libby

A few years ago, the Plum Creek Library System added RBdigital audiobooks to our digital library. This week, the content available from RBdigital will be moving to another app many of you are already familiar with – Libby.

The move is set to take place for the Plum Creek Library System this Wednesday, Oct. 14.

What does this mean for you? Here is what you should know before the move takes place.

Holds, wish lists, and checkout history

If you have holds in RBdigital, they will not move over to Libby. The same is true for wish lists and checkout history. If you would like a list of your holds, wish list, and checkout history, you can export your transaction history from RBdigital under “My Account>Profiles.” Holds can be placed again in Libby, and wish lists can be recreated.

Current loans

If you have audiobooks currently checked out from RBdigital, they will remain available to you until the end of their lending period.

How to get Libby

Libby can be downloaded for free from your device’s app store. All you need to sign in is your library card. If you are unable to use Libby on your device, you can download OverDrive instead, or visit our OverDrive site.

As always, if you have any questions about our digital library, please do not hesitate to call or email me. I am happy to help!

Happy reading!

~Val

Favorite book formats

Most people, it seems, have a favorite book format. Some are quite outspoken about liking – or disliking – a certain format, while others seem to just be quietly drawn to one type. Some choose a format out of necessity – large print or audio, for example.

I used to be a snob about ebooks, but now, they are my favorite format. I love the convenience and ease of use. I don’t have the best vision, so I love being able to adjust to fonts and colors that are easier for me to see (I prefer a dark background with white text). I love that I don’t have to worry about finding good lighting to read in, because my tablet is already lit up. By far, most of my reading in the past several years has consisted of ebooks. I’m so used to it, I sometimes try to swipe a page instead of turning it when I’m reading a paper book.

My second favorite book format is the mass-market paperback. There are, generally, two different types of paperbacks. Trade paperbacks are about the size of a hardcover book, but with a paper cover instead. Mass-market paperbacks are considerably smaller. I love mass-market paperbacks because they are light and easy to hold onto (most of the time; really long books don’t work very well in mass-market size). They are very portable – easy to toss into a purse, beach bag, or suitcase.

I think my next favorite format is probably the audiobook. I’ve come to believe that nearly any task is made bearable with an audiobook. A day of cleaning and doing laundry becomes much more pleasant with an audiobook playing. I have a bluetooth speaker that is my frequent companion around the house. It perches on the arm of the chair or couch, lounges in the laundry basket, and witnesses my morning makeup routine while dutifully projecting whatever audiobook I’ve currently got downloaded on my phone.

We are so lucky to have books in formats for any occasion and available to people of all abilities. What is your favorite way to read?

Happy reading!

~Val

ebook Tips & Tricks Part II: Reading Settings & More

One of the great parts about reading ebooks is that you can adjust the settings to suit your own preferences and needs. You can adjust the font, text size, and background color so it suits your comfort level. For example, I prefer to read white text on a dark background. I have floaters in my eyes, and they are less noticeable when I read on a dark background.

When you first open a book in Libby, it will have a preset font, background color, and size. If you’re reading on a phone, it can be pretty tiny. If you tap toward the middle of the screen, you’ll see a few different things. On the top left, it will say “Back.” That takes you back to your shelf. You can also get there by tapping “Shelf” on the bottom right. Tapping “Library” will take you to the ebook catalog.

On the upper right, you will see a magnifying glass, a bookmark, and a menu.

Reading Settings

The menu has several different options. We’ll start with reading settings. This where you can adjust the text size, background color, and font.

To adjust text size, slide the tab up or down. If you need a bigger text size than the ones offered, tap on “include accessibility sizes” below the slider.

There are three background settings – bright (white), sepia, and dark.

If you scroll down, you will see the options for fonts. You can select a serif or sans serif font depending on your preference. Libby also offers the Open Dyslexic font, which is easier for people with dyslexia to read.

Bookmarks

If you come across a page that you want to go back to later on, you can tap the bookmark, located between the menu and search icons. You can find your bookmarks later on by tapping on menu, and then on bookmarks.

You do not need to use bookmarks to keep your place in your book. Libby will automatically open up where you left off. In fact, if you return a book you are in the middle of reading and check it out again later, it will remember where you were before it was returned!

Highlights and notes

You can also highlight specific passages in a book. If you tap and hold near the beginning or end of the passage, and drag it to the other end, it will highlight the passage. Then you can select whether you would like to define, highlight, or search. You can select the color of the highlight you would like.

When you select “highlight,” you can also add a note. This is useful if you are using the book for discussion such as book club.

Dictionary

If you are reading and come across a word you do not know, there is no need to get out a dictionary! You have one right at your fingertips. Just tap and hold the word you would like to define, then choose “define.”

Search

Libby also has a handy search function. Just tap on the magnifying glass icon at the top of the screen, and then type in what you would like to find. It will bring up all of the places you will find the word or words you are searching for throughout the text.

You may not need or want to use all of these functions, but it is nice to know that they are available and how to use them.

As always, if you have any questions, email me at vquist@plumcreeklibrary.net

Happy reading!

~Val

ebook Tips and Tricks: Getting Started on Libby

There are so many advantages to ebooks. I have grown to prefer them to print books in recent years due to their ease of use, adaptability, and convenience. I understand, however, that it can be daunting to try ebooks.

Over the next couple of blogs, I’d like to dedicate time to the ebook app Libby. Today I’ll focus on a general how-to for getting started with Libby, and tomorrow I’ll start getting into some reading tips.

First of all, you might notice that I sometimes use Libby and OverDrive interchangeably, or refer to both at the same time. That’s because you have access to the same content through both. OverDrive is the classic ebook app, and may be the only option compatible with older devices. Libby is a newer app made by the same company. You can use whichever one you like. I personally prefer Libby and recommend it if your device is compatible. I find that it is easier to set up and navigate.

The first step, of course, is to download the Libby app from your app store. Now you’re ready to begin!

Getting Started

When you first open the Libby app, you will be asked if you have a library card. Select “yes.” (If you don’t have a library card or can’t find your card, email me at vquist@plumcreeklibrary.net and I can set one up for you.)

Next, you will be asked to find your library. Enter your zip code and you will see Tracy Public Library (or your nearest library) come up under “Plum Creek Library System.” You can also search by library name. Select that and go to the next screen.

Next, you will be prompted to add your library card number. Enter your card number first. Then, you will be asked to enter your PIN. Your PIN is the last four digits of your library card number. On the next screen, you will see your card. You can rename your card at this point. This is a good idea if you have multiple family cards entered into the same app. I usually have two cards attached to my Libby account, so I name them after the family member who is associated with the card. Tap “next,” and you are ready to look for books.

Library

That’s it! You are ready to get reading.

On the bottom left of your screen, you will see “Library.” Click on that to browse our catalog. There is a lot to explore here, including curated collections, new materials, and more. If you see headphones on a title, that means it’s an audiobook. Once you find a book you want to check out, tap “Borrow.” If it’s already checked out by someone else, it will say “Place Hold” instead. More on that later.

When you check something out, you will be asked how long you want to check it out for – 7 or 14 days. Choose whichever suits your reading pace.

Shelf

On the Shelf, you can see everything you have checked out. If you have multiple cards entered into Libby, you will be able to see what is checked out on all of them.

The default setting is to download all titles automatically. If you don’t want them to automatically download, you can change the download rules. Tap on “Actions” and then “Change Download Rules.”

Books automatically return and disappear from the shelf once the checkout expires. If you finish the book before the expiration date, you can return it early. Tap on “Manage Loan,” then “Return Early.” You do not have to return a book early if you are finished with it and there are other people waiting, but I generally do as a courtesy.

Some titles may be available for renewal. Just like when you check a book out in person at the library, an ebook can be renewed if no one has it on hold. When you get close to book’s expiration, you will be asked if you would like to renew it if the option is available.

When you tap on a book to read it, you can select whether you would like to read it on Libby or Kindle. Books checked out on Libby can be downloaded and synced on multiple devices.

Holds

You can place holds on ebooks, just like you place holds on physical materials. When you come across a title that is already checked out, you’ll see “Place Hold” instead of “Borrow.”

On the right, there is a small calendar. If you tap on that, you can see how long the approximate wait time will be.

If you tap on “Place Hold,” you will be taken to another screen. Here, you can change which card you would like to place the hold under if you have multiple cards. Otherwise, select “Place Hold.”

If you don’t want the hold right away, you can suspend the hold until the desired date. A new feature has been added that allows you to delay checking out your hold after it becomes available to you. You can select the amount of time you would like to delay delivery of the hold. By doing this, it lets the next person in line have the book, but you will stay at the top of the queue. When the book becomes available after your selected date, you’ll be the first to get it.

To see which books you have on hold, tap on “Holds” when you are in the Shelf.

Tags

Libby has a feature that allows you to “tag” books. There are three standard tags: one that looks like a stack of books, a thumbs-up, and a thumbs-down.

I think of the stack of books like that stack we all have by our favorite chair or on our bedside table. I use it as a “to-be-read” list. You can tag books that you want to read later on so they are easy to find. The other two tags can be used for rating books you like or don’t like. If these aren’t enough tags for your taste, you can add others.

To add a tag, just tap on “Tag” next to a title, and then select the desired tag.

If you’re thinking about giving ebooks a try, I hope this will help you get started. Tomorrow I’ll talk about reading settings.

As always, if you have questions, please email me at vquist@plumcreeklibrary.net

Happy reading!

~Val

Stay at Home, Learn at Home

Today is my first day of working from home. I wanted to find a way to stay connected with all of you during this time, so I decided to start a blog. I am hoping to get one blog post written every day while I am working from home, and to keep it up once I am able to return to the library.

It is also the first day of Distance Learning for my daughter and other Tracy Area Public Schools students.

First, I just want to say what an amazing job our school did in putting together a Distance Learning plan in a very short amount of time, and a stressful time at that. Thank you, teachers, paras, support staff, and administration, for all you do for our children!

I don’t know whether I am blessed or cursed to have a child who was ready to start her distance learning at 6:30 a.m. Computer time is a great motivator for my daughter, and she knew that in order to have it, she needed to get her work done, and do it without complaining.

I appreciated her enthusiasm, but that meant she had completed most of her work by 8 a.m. She went off to have her computer time, as promised, while I sat down to do some work. When she was done, I found myself thinking…now what?

Last night I had set out a package of strawberry gelatin, thinking it would be a fun and easy “cooking” activity. As it turned out, it ended up being a great companion activity for one of the worksheets my daughter had completed. She is learning how to read a thermometer, and we talked about the temperature at which water freezes, and the temperature at which water boils. As we made the gelatin, we talked about the boiling water. Then, we made popsicles, using a recipe of our own invention (fruit juice and lemon-lime soda). It was just a coincidence that our snack-making tied in so well to the school assignment, but it is a great reminder of how we can learn from everyday activities.

I also asked my daughter to choose one topic each day that she would like to learn about. For today, she has chosen 3D printing. Tomorrow, she would like to learn more about Easter, specifically the symbols of the holiday such as Easter eggs. Now, I know a little about these topics, but I am no expert. I was able to find ebooks on Biblioboard (ebooks Minnesota), and hoopla Digital that we will read and learn from.

We are fortunate to have so many free digital resources that we can use during this time of at-home learning. If there are subjects you’re looking for information about, why not give some of these digital resources a try? You will find the links you need at the bottom of our home page. Please note that hoopla Digital is available only in Lyon County.

If you have questions about these digital resources, or anything else, please email me at vquist@plumcreeklibrary.net. I may not be at the library right now, but I am still here to help you in any way I can.

~Val