by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
Everyone knows that you can get books by visiting the library, but did you know that you can download books even if you’re at home? All of the regional public library systems in Minnesota have downloadable ebooks and audiobooks available for checkout.
In Pioneerland Library System, we have a contract with Overdrive to provide our ebooks and downloadable audiobooks. They are available to check out through both the Overdrive app and the Libby app, which are free to download from your electronic device’s app store. You also have the option to read books on your computer without an app, using the OverDrive Read feature.
As of March 12, Pioneerland had 4,560 ebooks (the ones you look at to read like a print book) and 1,621 audiobooks to download. New books are added all the time. You can view our collection by visiting our online catalog and clicking on “Download ebooks,” by going directly to pioneerland.overdrive.com, or by going into the Overdrive or Libby app and searching for your local library.
You will need to have an active Pioneerland library card in order to check out our downloadable books. So your first step is to get a library card, if you don’t have one. If you have never had a card with us before, or if it was so many years ago that you’re no longer in our system, visit one of our libraries and bring along your driver’s license or Minnesota ID. If you have moved and the address on your ID isn’t current, also bring a piece of mail delivered to you at your current address,
something with your name on it, as proof of address. You’ll also fill out a one-page application. Kids under age 18 need to have a parent or legal guardian accompany them to the library to get the card and sign the application, since the parent is the responsible party for a minor and kids normally don’t have an ID.
Your first library card is free. It takes about five minutes to get your card set up.
If you have had a library card in the recent past but you have lost it, visit the library and let us know that you need a replacement card. We’ll ask to see your photo ID to look up your account. A replacement library card costs $3.
If you still have that blue library card but you haven’t used it in a while, bring it to the library or call us with your card in hand, and ask us to check on whether your card needs updating. Everyone’s account needs to be updated annually in person at the library, even if they have been using it to check things out. When we update your card, we take another look at your ID, so bring that along.
This would be a good time to visit the library and spend a few minutes getting your card ready to use. If you end up needing to stay home for a while, you may need some entertainment – and our ebooks are free to use. You can’t even get overdue fees on them. After three weeks, if you don’t return them, they will return themselves.
There is a limit of five downloadable books on each library card at one time. You can return them early to make them available to other people and to free up a slot on your account for a different title.
Downloadable books work like print books in one sense: the library pays for each copy, and only one person can check out a copy at one time. So if someone else has an ebook checked out, you will need to add yourself to the waiting list. You’ll be notified by email when the book is available for you to check out.
Our digital book collection offers titles for all ages and interests. You can check out books to entertain and educate the kids or yourself. When you’re preparing for some possible time sequestered at home, remember that a library card is a great tool to get now.