Many offers from your local public library can be accessed with the tap of a finger on your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Enter Libby, a free app that offers access to thousands of ebooks, audiobooks and magazines to borrow on your device just like you would borrow a traditional book in the library — all it requires is your library card.
To introduce South Hills residents to the two-year-old app and its older counterpart, OverDrive, the Digital Bookmobile will stop by the Baldwin Borough Public Library, 5230 Wolfe Drive, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 14.
The Digital Bookmobile, powered by OverDrive, is a “tricked out RV,” or more like a mobile exhibit of the digital offerings available at the library, said Joe Skelley of OverDrive.
The Digital Bookmobile includes interactive workstations, touchscreen activities and devices to try out the app. Tutorials will be provided and one-on-one assistance offered for those who need help getting started learning how to browse and borrow eBooks that are offered through a shared service between libraries in Allegheny County and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
The vehicle is traveling the United States and Canada to share “what options we have to offer” with the public and celebrate libraries across North America, Skelley said.
Just like a traditional book, libraries — or, in Allegheny County’s case, library systems — purchase copies of a digital book that patrons can read or listen to on the app. And, just like a traditional library, you borrow the book for so many days.
For the patron, it’s all free, Skelley said. However, there can be a waiting list to borrow a book, just like a traditional library, he said.
In Allegheny County, where libraries are part of a shared system, patrons have access to all books purchased in the system. Some, especially more popular books, offer multiple copies of a book.
Pam Calfo, public services librarian at Baldwin, was part of a digital resources committee for the county library association two years ago when the Digital Bookmobile made its way to several stops in Allegheny County.
When the Baldwin library was opening its doors to a new building earlier this year, Calfo invited the Digital Bookmobile to come to celebrate.
They couldn’t make it for the opening, but had a last minute cancellation in June.
They’re stopping by several locations in the Pittsburgh area from June 10 to 14.
At Baldwin Borough Public Library, Calfo sees patrons using a mix of both the digital resources and traditional library offerings.
The digital offerings, along with offering added convenience, also come with no late fees. The books automatically return themselves on the devices. If you want to keep them for longer, you can renew.
“I hope it exposes more people to downloadable resources,” Calfo said.