A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
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.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Subjects: Language & Reading: letter or word recognition, reading, reading comprehension, storytelling, text analysis, vocabulary
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: asking questions, prediction, thinking critically
Creativity: combining knowledge
Self-Direction: academic development
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: February 14, 2019
- Category: Books
- Topics: Book Characters, Fairy Tales, History, Middle School
- Size: 20.70 MB
- Publisher: OverDrive, Inc.
- Version: 1.8.1
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.0 or later; Android 4.4 and up
- Last updated: February 15, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.