5 Apps to Improve Your Library Experience

When you’re a student, you develop a great appreciation for free stuff.  Since libraries are filled with books, movies, and music that can be borrowed for free, they’re a goldmine for students and the rest of the community.

But let’s face it: we live busy lives. Between work, class, studying, socializing, and other day-to-day life tasks, we don’t always have time to get to the library.

Lucky for us, there’s an app for that.  Here are 5 apps that will make your library experience more convenient.

1. OverDrive Media Console

Cost: FREE

OverDrive, the company that powers the Digital Bookmobile, allows you to download eBooks and audiobooks directly to your smartphone or other mobile device.  More than 18,000 libraries use OverDrive, which allows you to find libraries near you or select the library of your choice.

With a valid library card, you can check out and download digital books or audio books at your convenience.  If an item isn’t available, you can join a waiting list.  When your loan period is over, the item will automatically be returned, so there’s no need to worry about late fees.


2. Library

Cost: FREE

In a new place and looking for the nearest library?  This app’s got you covered.  It will use your GPS location to find the libraries closest to you.  Once the map of libraries comes up, you can get more information about each library, including a phone number, link to the library’s website, and directions to or from the library.


3. Library Books

Cost: $2.99

If you, like me, tend to lose track of when your library materials are due, then this is the app for you.  Library Books allows you to track all of the books you have checked out, so you can easily see what books are due soon and need to be renewed or returned. Additionally, you receive notifications when books are overdue.  You can also keep track of multiple library cards at once.

Not all libraries are supported at this time, but there are over 400 currently included in the app, and you can see if your library is on the list at the Library Books website.


4. AccessMyLibrary

Cost: FREE

This app allows you to access the information you need regardless of what time it is or where you are.  Powered by Gale, it will use your location to find the libraries within a ten-mile radius, and allow you access to the Gale online resources available from those libraries.  If you need to find an article in a database or are looking for a new eBook to read, AccessMyLibrary is the app for you.  There are also school and college versions available.


5. BookMyne

Cost: FREE

BookMyne is the jack-of-all-trades of library apps.  Like other apps, BookMyne allows you to find libraries closest to you, search library catalogs, and check your library account.  If you’re out at a bookstore and see a book that looks interesting, BookMyne allows you to scan the bar code of the book, check to see if the library has it, and place a request or hold on the book.  You can also create lists of books, such as a to-be-read list, and custom shelves for eBooks.

Additionally, BookMyne has a social component, allowing you to connect to Goodreads and share lists and recommendations with friends, or search for books recommended by friends in your library’s catalog. (For more on Goodreads, check out this recent Information Space post.) BookMyne also gives you access to bestseller lists, so you can check the charts for interesting reads and request those books.  And you can do all of this regardless of time or location.

We all lead busy lives, but that doesn’t mean we need to stop reaping the benefits of free books, movies, music, and everything else libraries have to offer.  These apps make libraries even more amazing, because not only do they offer us free stuff, but now we have a more convenient way to access them.

What library apps are you loving these days?  Let Alison know in the comments, email her at, or find her on twitter @alisonjane0306.

Alison Glass

Alison is a grad student in library and information science at the iSchool. Because she is perpetually indecisive and persistently curious, this is her third round of graduate school. Alison was a teacher in a previous life, and is interested in all things education, including information literacy, social media in the classroom, censorship, and the future of school libraries. She is addicted to Pinterest and chocolate. Find her on Twitter @alisonjane0306.

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