Libby, by OverDrive

App review by
Ana Beltran, Common Sense Media
Libby, by OverDrive App Poster Image
Browse, borrow books with online library; filters available.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can access variety of books to practice reading and comprehension skills and explore variety of topics, titles. Offers educational potential of having complete library at your fingertips, being able to write notes while reading. Grown-up support may help little ones get the most out of more complex books. 

Ease of Play

Kids may need some support when browsing the wide collection of books, but it's fairly easy to navigate. Personalized shelf allows users to track books they've borrowed, see which books they've placed on hold. 

Violence & Scariness

Kids will be able to browse books that may contain violent scenes or themes, though filters can limit access. 

Sexy Stuff

Kids will be able to browse books that may contain sexual scenes or themes, though filters can limit access. 


Kids will be able to browse books that may contain explicit language and/or curse words, though filters can limit access. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Kids will be able to browse books that may contain scenes or themes that deal with drinking, drugs, and smoking, though filters can limit access. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Libby, by Overdrive is a books app that allows kids to browse and borrow ebooks and audiobooks from public libraries for free. Kids will need a library card to download or stream the books they want to borrow. The app connects users to their local library's ebook and audiobook collection. Users can link multiple library cards from different branches to access a wider collection. Kids can sample books before deciding to borrow them. If they're not immediately available, they can put titles on hold, and the activity tracker lets them track what they've read. Search for a specific title or explore different collections, including Kids, Teens, What's Popular?, and Subjects. Little kids can access picture books with read-along audio, making some books more accessible to early readers. Even though Libby, by Overdrive gives users access to a wide range of books, grown-ups can activate a juvenile or young adult filter in order to limit kids' access to the entire collection. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.       

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjbello February 8, 2021

No Reliable Filters

Though this app is very user friendly and gives access to an infinite number of ebooks, this is not suitable for children without heavy supervision. The app doe... Continue reading
Adult Written byjohngriffin0928 August 5, 2020

As untrustworthy as Trump

The Libby app is the most temperamental app I think I've ever used. It won't work properly if my mobile device is moving. It won't work if it doe... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDuckyMcquack December 17, 2020

Great app!

I use this all the time because in the pandemic I can’t go to the library so this helps. Of course I prefer physical books, but this is a great stand in for now... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old June 4, 2020


this is my favorite app i use it all the time it is COMPLETELY FREE

What's it about?

LIBBY, BY OVERDRIVE puts a library's ebook and audiobook collection at users' fingertips by allowing them to use their library card to digitally borrow books. Kids can either download books, which can then be accessed offline, or they can stream them. Libby digitally re-creates the library experience. To navigate the app, kids simply type their book's title or author into the search box or choose a category and scroll to explore titles. Kids can browse a variety of collections and subjects, borrow ebooks and audiobooks, put books on hold, and sync information between all of their devices. Early readers can access books with embedded read-along audio support. The "shelf" consolidates all loans, holds, and tags, so readers can keep track of their books. Under the preference tab, users can filter books by format, language, and availability. They can also sort books by popularity, release date, or author, among other categories. If users want to annotate, they tap and hold to access search, define, and highlighting features; if they highlight, they can choose a color and annotate as well. Under preferences, parents can apply some parental restrictions by activating the juvenile or young adult filter, which limits the titles kids can browse.   

Is it any good?

This tool allows kids to enjoy the library experience from virtually anywhere, encouraging them to explore different types of books and making it extremely convenient to borrow ebooks and audiobooks. Families will love accessing different books for free and expanding their personal reading list without the hassle of purchasing books or making a library run. Families of early readers may find this particularly useful and cost effective, since little ones will need an ample selection of books to read regularly in order to practice their reading and comprehension skills. The read-along feature also supports early readers and helps them use the app with greater independence. The juvenile and teen categories have a variety of titles that kids will find appealing. One of the best features of this app is the variety of titles available; borrow best sellers, classic titles, and new releases. Readers can even borrow books in different languages. Users can stream books directly from Libby, by Overdrive, or enjoy the flexibility of downloading for offline access or linking the app to their e-reader, adding to the app's accessibility. Families can narrow search options by activating the juvenile or young adult audience preference, which provides some ease of mind when kids are independently browsing through the collections. This feature definitely makes an otherwise unfiltered selection of titles more kid-friendly. There are two inconveniences when using this app. First, since you are borrowing books from your public library, you have to have a library card or make the trip to your local branch to get one. Second, not all books are immediately available and have to be placed on hold. This was particularly true with super popular and current titles. However, these little inconveniences don't outweigh the convenience, flexibility, and variety offered by Libby, by Overdrive, which definitely brings the library experience to readers' fingertips. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how to go about browsing and choosing appropriate books to read when using Libby, by Overdrive. If the juvenile or young adult filter is not applied, kids will have access to a wide range of books. 

  • Talk about how kids can use this resource to support school assignments, such as research projects. How can kids use this app to explore resources and collect information? Explore how to find books based on topic and how different books may present different information or perspectives. 

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love reading

Themes & Topics

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