Libby
Why leave the comfort of your bed when books are available at the swipe of your finger? (Illustration by Julianne Griepp, Laguna College of Art and Design)

Every bookworm either has or will get it: reader’s block. Stress or a lack in desire to commit to a new book will leave you bookless and yearning for something you can’t quite put your finger on. With the hustle and bustle of change, school and a hopefully budding social life, it happens a lot in college and can make the chronically bookish feel a little out of their element. But library app Libby can change that.

Even if you grew up reading voraciously through elementary, middle and high school, odds are that traditional reading will become an inconvenience once you reach college. Not only will you have to make specific trips to the library for new books, but carrying them around everywhere, and every day, is not likely to happen.

Beyond physical inconveniences, something happens to your reading appetite when you’re stressed or busy. You might start to get especially picky with the books you choose to read. Where you used to read with reckless abandon for the sake of reading, you might now become so picky that it’s hard for you to pick a book. Now you’re thinking about the inconveniences and all the work it’ll take to give you the time to sit down and read, and suddenly those books don’t look good enough anymore.

If you grew up reading all the time, the lack of new material, fiction or nonfiction, will start to gnaw at you. Reading is often described as an escape, and if you can’t get the escape you need from the day-to-day life that’s already keeping you farther away from reading than you’d like, life gets monotonous and depressing. Frankly, there’s a period of losing oneself if you can no longer find the time or desire to do the thing you once most loved to do. This is where Libby comes in.

Libby is an app powered by Overdrive that allows you to connect to their local library’s collection of virtual content. Libby users can borrow their library’s eBooks, audiobooks and even graphic novels.

Being an app, Libby already addresses the biggest detriment to college leisure reading, which is the inconvenience of library trips and physical books. By adding a library location and a relevant library card, you get direct access that location’s cache of online titles from your phone. You can even add more than one library and library card. Now you can go to the library from your bed, kitchen, classroom or anywhere else you can get Wi-Fi or a data signal.

Once you borrow a title, you need Wi-Fi to download it, but after it’s downloaded onto your phone it is conveniently available offline, making Libby perfect if you have spotty Wi-Fi or data or you’re traveling and can expect a less than stellar connection.

Libby is also the perfect app if you have reason to believe that you would forget to take your physical books back to their physical library. With Libby, the app removes books from your virtual shelf by the time they’re due, with or without action on your part, so you’ll never have an overdue library book again. As a broke college student, you need to dodge every fee you can.

Despite the belief that there can be no wait on virtual titles, there unfortunately is. But, just like a regular library, users can put holds on desired but unavailable books from within Libby. Libby keeps track of all your current titles, those on hold and more from the shelf part of the app. If you’re not sure about a book, you can tag it with a certain emoji for easy finding later, and tags are also kept track of in the shelf.

Both eBooks and audiobooks are infinitely more convenient than traditional books. While any true bookworm loves the feel of a real, physical book, there’s something to be said for the allure of convenience, especially for college students.

Libby and its services are not only a huge plus for the practicality of leisure reading in college, but its virtual nature makes it easier to take the leap into reading a new book. Reading a new book takes effort and can seem impractical when there’s always the option of rereading your favorite, tried and true books and knowing you won’t be disappointed with the book’s quality in the middle of a read.

But this tempting mindset is a detriment to growth as a reader. The eBooks, and even the audiobooks, that are available through Libby feel like much less of a commitment, mostly because they’re so convenient to attain. Since the titles take less effort to borrow from the virtual library and can be very easily returned at your own or Libby’s discretion, there’s no pressure to love a book or even to finish it if you don’t want to.

Audiobooks are even lower commitment and extremely easy to work into your busy college schedule. Where eBooks resemble traditional books in the consumer’s necessity to actually read, audiobooks can be consumed in a larger variety of ways.

You can enjoy an audiobook on your commute to and from classes, in the car, while doing low difficulty homework with little reading, while getting ready for bed and more. The words of an audiobook can be spoken and listened to whenever and wherever you deem fit. The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to how you can consume audiobooks.

Everything about Libby oozes ease and convenience. From the user-friendly interface to the fact that all you need is a library card before getting your virtual hands on as many virtual books as possible, Libby is the perfect app for college bookworms. The stress and completely new environments that college thrusts you into are daunting and can feel isolating, especially for someone who is used to having the time to visit the local library and thumb through the pages.

Suddenly there seems to be no time left for even your most loved activity, but Libby completely circumvents the trials and inconveniences of pleasure reading in college to give us an app that can seem to do it all.

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