What is Libby, Sora’s Sister App?


Elijah Harmel, Writer

You might’ve seen the app called Sora when digging through ClassLink, or even used it a couple of times. An app that allows students to borrow ebooks and audiobooks from their school’s library, it’s run by a company called Overdrive. But did you know that Overdrive provides a lot more services than just Sora?

One of my favorite apps on my phone is also run by Overdrive: the Libby app. It functions similarly to Sora, with one clear distinction. Instead of connecting to a school’s library, it allows residents to check out ebooks and audiobooks from their local library. 

All it requires is a login using the barcode on your library card. You don’t even have to download it, because it functions perfectly as a web browser. Better yet, it doesn’t cost a cent! Yet it can drastically improve reading habits if used to its fullest potential. 

The most obvious change between a school and public library is the quantity of materials available. If you search for a specific book on Sora, there’s a good chance that you won’t find it, and an even stronger chance that there’s no audiobook for it. However, Libby has a very wide variety of materials. One filter that you can apply to your searches is ‘available now’, and if you use it, it brings up a whopping 69,000 results. Yes, 69,000 ebooks and audiobooks that you can start reading or listening to in under a minute, from the comfort of your own home.

The chances of finding a book you want is so much higher with a selection like that. Let’s say you want to read the third Harry Potter book. Oh, but you want it in Spanish. And, can you make it an audiobook, too?

Done and done, and you can start it whenever you’d like. 

The app itself is extremely user-friendly, as well. It has a simple interface, an easy-to-use search, and helpful filters to find the book that’s right for you. 

Once you find the book you want, you can do many things with it: send it to your Kindle, download it for offline access, change playback speed, look at its reviews. My all-time favorite feature of Libby is the sleep timer for audiobooks. Choose anywhere from 5 to 120 minutes, and the audiobook will automatically pause at the end of that timer. You can even set it to “end of chapter”, and it will tell you how much longer until it will pause!

The app is so customizable and able to be personalized that truly anybody can take a stab at it and enjoy their experience. Even if you only read one book a year, that book could be made much more enjoyable by reading it through Libby.

It’s able to be downloaded on iOS or Android phones, or as a web browser. Over 90% of public libraries in North America are in the system, and it’s available in 78 countries worldwide. There’s no reason not to check it out!