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Thursday, April 04, 2024

Why I Love the Libby App

When my kids were younger, I used to frequent the library almost weekly, even more during the months of June, July, and August when the summer reading programs were in full swing. During the height of the pandemic, my visits came to a screeching halt. I was focused on keeping my job as a magazine editor and trying to launch a podcast. I knew there was an app called OverDrive that was supposed to allow you to check out books from the library digitally on your Kindle, but I found it clunky and difficult to use. Around 2022 I discovered the Libby app, which is owned by OverDrive but much more user-friendly. All I had to do was download the app to my phone, find my local library, enter in my current library card number, and voila, I was connected to so many resources I didn’t know what to do with them at first.

Through the Libby app I’ve been able to request and read books, magazines, and audiobooks, all for free! What’s even better is that I can “send” books directly to my Kindle for easier reading. I manage all my loans in the app, and if I request a book, and it comes in while I’m still reading another one or know I won’t get to it quickly enough, I can request the book be sent to the next person in line without losing my own place. The book will usually come back to me within 10 days, if not sooner. Last year I participated in the Goodreads Reading Challenge, and the majority of my books came from my access to the Libby app. I read books like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, In Five Years by Rebecca Serle, Matthew Perry’s autobiography Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, The Rewind by Allison Winn Scotch, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop CafĂ© by Fannie Flagg, The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, Yellowface by R.F. Kuang, and much more. 

Through the audiobook feature, I listened to Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave, I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jeanette McCurdy, and Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister. I learned that I don’t love listening to books on audio—I feel like I can read faster than I can listen and with the Gillian McAllister novel, which was told in reverse, I found myself very confused and wishing I could flip back and forth in a physical book. I’ve shared my love of the app with so many friends who didn’t knew it existed and they are having a blast exploring the titles available. The only downside I’ve found is that occasionally I will request three or four books at the same time, all with drastically different wait times, and they will all become available within three or four days of one another. #booknerd problems, right? That’s why I love the “pause my hold” feature as it gives me time to finish a current book before starting another. 

I’ve just finished The Women by Kristin Hannah and am about to start The Christie Affair, a historical work of fiction featuring the life of Agatha Christie by Nine de Gramont. I recently joined my neighborhood book club and was able to request our May book through the app. Now if I could only find the time to write reviews for all these fantastic books . . . 

Have you been able to try the Libby app? What do you like or not like about it? 

Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer who also produces the weekly true crime podcast, Missing in the Carolinas.


  1. I just discovered the Libby app last year thanks to you and SueBE! I'm finally seeing books come in. Since I live in a remote area, they don't have everything and waits are usually several months for a new book. I'm a slow reader, so I often have to place a hold again because I didn't finish the book, or I'll just buy it if I really like it and want to have a copy for my library. I made a promise to myself to only buy ebooks, since it's more eco-friendly and I don't have the shelf space, and I really like Libby for trying out books before I purchase them.

    I just put a hold on The Women by Kristin Hannah! It's several months wait. Did you enjoy it?

    I'm also a member of NetGalley, but I haven't used it for a while. Do you use it?

  2. Hey Ang! I'm so glad you've been able to use the app! I love it and it is great for previewing books before buying them, too. And if I start reading a book and can't get into it, I just return it early so the next person in line can access it. I really enjoyed "The Women," but it was a tough read (like most of Hannah's historical fiction). I learned a lot about the Vietnam War that I didn't know and the nurses that were serving over there didn't have the support other veterans did when they returned. In the book, they were told, "there were no women in Vietnam!" Support groups wouldn't allow them in, either. Now I want to read some biographies of the combat nurses to get even more perspective. I put a hold on the book right when it came out and it also had a long wait, but I was able to read it in about 4-6 weeks time. I started using NetGalley last fall, too, and need to get back over there and see what's available. I've been able to get some true crime books from NetGalley that I've used for the podcast.

  3. Yay for Libby! I'm waiting for The Women. I'm in the middle of The Book of Charlie which is not what I expected.

    I always have two books going. One in print and one in audio. Print is for pre-bed reading. Audio is during chore time and at lunch if I'm home alone.

  4. Love this app too! Since I currently live in Europe it's a godsend for access to books in English.


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