Home > About > Bill Peak's Library Column > Libby's Magic Carpet Ride at the Talbot County Free Library
Well, the pandemic has forced me to do something I never thought I would.
Health concerns at home mean I have to limit my trips into town, any possible exposure to the virus; which also means, sadly, fewer trips to the library. You can imagine what this does to a guy whose notion of paradise is row after row of library shelves, the siren call of their contents, the pull of all those unread, undiscovered works of fiction and non-fiction. So, despite the lifelong pleasure I have taken in the feel of a book—the sense of accomplishment one experiences as the number of pages already read grows beneath your left thumb and, eventually, surpasses the height of those beneath your right—I decided to check out one of the library's eBooks.
The problem, of course, was that “e” in front of the word “Books.” Whenever I see that lowercase "e" in front of a capitalized noun, a forest of red flags sprouts from its tiny head as if signaling landmines, for that little unassuming “e” means (cue the theme music from “Jaws”) “computers.” Fortunately, though, the library knows how to help old Luddites like me stick a toe into the chilly, cyber-shark-infested waters of the twenty-first century. All I had to do was go to http://www.tcfl.org/eresources/Overdrive_QuickStart.pdf, follow the simple set of instructions I found there, and even a computer illiterate like me was able to download the “Libby” application quickly and easily onto my computer.
Oh my goodness, what fun I've had since then! Now, whenever I get the urge to read something new, I just click on the Libby icon at the bottom of my computer screen and a page opens up entitled “Shelf” (meaning “my shelf”), showing all the eBooks currently checked out to me via Libby. If I want to, at that point, I can choose one of those books to read or I can return or renew one, but what I usually want is to check out yet another. So I look down at the bottom of the page where the Libby symbol (the top of a little girl's head buried in a book) resides.
On the right side of the little girl whom, for want of a better name, we'll call Libby, the word “Shelf” is highlighted in red, because—tah-dah!—that's the page I'm on. (See, I'm really beginning to understand this stuff!) On the left side of Libby, the word “Library” is in black. I click on Library, it turns red, Shelf turns black, and immediately I am on a page that shows me all the newest books and magazines now available to me in the Libby Library. But it's the word “Explore” in the upper right-hand corner of this new page that really excites me. I click on that word and a new page appears offering me all sorts of categories to choose from: Children's Books, Books for Teens, Mysteries & Thrillers, Business, etc. I scroll down this list until the word "Subjects" appears, which I then click on like one of those lab rats pressing the lever that fires an electrode planted in their brain's pleasure receptors.
Oh joy! A new page now appears listing-are you ready for it?—143 different subjects! There are over 18,000 titles listed under Fiction alone, over 4,000 listed under Mystery, and 3,000 listed under Historical Fiction. And that's just a small portion of the Fiction subjects available on Libby. But there are also over 6,000 Non-Fiction titles, including everything from African-American Non-Fiction to Religion & Spirituality. And they're all free! And they're all available at the click of a mouse! Did I say I was excited about this stuff?
Sorry to go on like this, but Libby really is terrific. I miss my regular visits to the library, I miss the people there, and of course I miss the feel of real books—their covers, their heft, the sense that, as you turn a physical page, you're actually touching, communing with, the lives of ages past—but every day I thank the Talbot County Free Library for providing me with this safe and easy way to satisfy my cravings for a good read. Oh, and if you'd prefer to have a living, breathing person walk you through downloading Libby, all you need do is call the library at 410-822-1626. A world of fun awaits you.
(Editor's note: If you'd rather listen to a book than read one, you can easily download an audio version of an eBook from Libby too. And you won't want to miss all the eMagazines available from Libby, including current and back issues of The New Yorker, The Economist, Oprah Magazine, Kiplinger's, Prevention, and a host of other popular titles. For a full list of all the remarkable eResources available from the library—Genealogy, Language Courses, homework help, Chilton Repair Manuals, the list just goes on and on—go to: http://www.tcfl.org/eresources/. You'll need a library card to access these great offerings, but you can easily get one of those online, too, at: http://www.tcfl.org/find/?content=getacard. WP)
Contact Us | | | Library News