Have you ever been in the mood to read a book but couldn’t find anything good on your home shelves? And then realized the library closed ten minutes ago? Now you’ll never be without a good book again—no matter if it’s day or night—thanks to our new downloadable service called Overdrive. With Overdrive, your library card can provide you with all-new books to discover, even if your car has a flat tire or you can’t find two matching socks to wear out of the house.
Does it cost anything?
This service is free to residents of Westmoreland County.
How does it work?
You only need three things: A computer, a valid library card and some free software. Browse our collection of titles, find something you like, and check it out. Now you’re just a download away from some great reading enjoyment!
What kinds of books can I borrow?
The libraries are pooling resources to buy ebooks to suit everyone’s fancy. This includes hot new bestsellers, graphic novels, children’s storybooks, and great non-fiction and fiction of every type. Hundreds of titles are already available, and over the coming months we’ll be building the collection with thousands more.
Is every book downloadable?
No. Some books are not available in electronic format at all. Some are available for sale only to individuals, and not to libraries to check out to the public. (It depends on the publisher of that book.) And some books haven’t been purchased by the libraries in the new format yet.
Also, just like with print library books, most copies can only be checked out to one person at a time, so not every book will be available at all times. However, we do offer titles that are “always available,” so lots of people can check them out simultaneously.
Finally, some books just plain cost too much. If you would like to help the county libraries boost the selection, we welcome donations towards buying more downloadables.
Do I need special equipment to use downloadables?
You will need a computer to use the Overdrive software. Additionally, depending on the type of format you’ve chosen and where you plan to enjoy your book, you might want to invest in a device like an eReader or an MP3 player.
Can you tell me more about those devices?
If you want to download ebooks, you can read them right on your computer. For portability, you can transfer ebooks onto tablets (such as the iPad), smartphones, Android devices and ereaders (like the Barnes & Noble Nooks and the Sony Readers).
If you check out audiobooks or music, you can listen using your computer. You can also transfer them to many MP3 and/or WMA-compatible players (including iPods, iPads, smartphones and some ereaders). Your device may not play both MP3 and WMA formats, so please check your download choices carefully to make sure they work with your player.
For any device, you can verify compatibility using Overdrive’s website, where many brands and models are listed. Even if your device is not listed, it’s still possible that it is compatible. You can test it by using the compatibility-check section of the website. If you’re still in doubt, just ask the library staff for help.
How does a library downloadable checkout work?
You’ll need to set up your free account with Overdrive. Your Overdrive account is tied to your library account, so if you have excessive fines, overdue books, or registration information that is expired, you will not be able to borrow until those issues are resolved.
Books (whether ebook or audiobook) go out for a maximum of two weeks, but you may decide to select a shorter loan period of one week.
You can check out a total of five downloaded titles at any one time.
If an item you want is checked out to someone else, you can get on a waiting list for that item. When it’s your turn, you’ll get an email announcement. If you place any holds, we recommend that you do not check out the maximum five items. Instead, save yourself at least one “slot” so you can check out a hold when your turn comes up.
That’s it! For lots more information, you can see the helpful Tutorials on the Overdrive website, where you will also find plenty of Help pages and more complete explanations about the questions above. And don’t forget, your favorite library staff member is always available to help you too. So start reading—any time!