Read Beyond: E-content
by Max Gulden
The Fourth of July has rolled around once again, and there is no denying that we are in the midst of a full-blown Iowa summer! As you may know, we are also in the midst of a full-blown Ames Public Library (APL) Summer Reading Challenge! If you have been participating all along, you know that the Summer Reading Challenge is a blast, with various ways to track your progress, fun prizes to earn as you read, and a grand prize drawing at the end. For those who missed the start of the Summer Reading Challenge, have no fear, as there is still plenty of time to catch up and collect your summer reading prizes, including a free book for you to keep (provided courtesy of the APL Friends Foundation).
There are many ways to get in your summer reading, but this summer I’ve been particularly partial to e-books and e-audiobooks (e-content). Whether you’re going on vacation and travelling light, trying to dodge the heat by staying indoors, or simply like the convenience of reading from your phone, e-content offers great options. For me, e-audiobooks are particularly convenient as I can fit book time into my commute and while working around the home. Remember, time spent listening to audiobooks counts just as much as time spent reading books for the Summer Reading Challenge, so they are a great way to rack up your minutes!
The library provides several excellent options for e-content, each with an expansive catalogue. One option is BRIDGES, the state-wide catalogue you can access through your local public library. While BRIDGES is a shared catalogue for public libraries across the state, we purchase additional e-content for this platform exclusively for APL patrons. One of the easiest ways to access BRIDGES e-content is through the free app Libby, obtainable through your app store on many devices. BRIDGES is also accessible through the library website. One particularly notable thing about BRIDGES is that you can check out as many items as you like as long as you only have five items out simultaneously, thus making it perfect for marathon summer reading.
Be aware, access to BRIDGES is determined by your place of residence. The APL is designated to provide access to those living within Ames’ city limits or in unincorporated Story County. If you don’t live in these geographical areas, do not fret. Your local library may also offer access to BRIDGES. If you are an eligible APL patron, all you need to sign in and access BRIDGES e-content is your library card number and PIN/password.
If you are already a BRIDGES user using the legacy OverDrive app, be aware that the company behind this app (also named OverDrive) is planning to discontinue this app in early 2023. Fortunately, Libby is freely available as a replacement on most devices. The one primary exception has long been Kindle Fire devices. Fortunately, this is no longer a problem. Although Amazon’s app store does not offer Libby directly, OverDrive has released easy to follow instructions detailing how to install Libby on a Kindle Fire that you can find on the webpage: www.overdrive.com/apps/libby/kindlefire.
In addition to BRIDGES, the library also provides you access to Hoopla, another resource replete with e-content. Hoopla is easily accessible on most devices by downloading the Hoopla app from your app store. Hoopla is also accessible through the library website. Be aware, accessing Hoopla does require you to create a Hoopla account with an e-mail and password before linking to APL. While there is some overlap, Hoopla has many titles and formats that aren’t in the BRIDGES catalogue, so it’s worthwhile to use both. One notable thing about Hoopla is that there is no limit to the number of users who can access a particular title at a given time, making it a great option for book clubs.
The longest days of summer may be past us now, but there is still plenty of time to get in your summer reading, be it on the printed page, electronic, or audio!