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A beginner’s guide to navigating the Libby app

By Marissa Gillett | Feb 25, 2022

A beginner’s guide to navigating the Libby app

The first step in using the Libby app is understanding the difference between all the icons in the navigation bar. Trying out a new app can be overwhelming for some, but part of my job on the Digital Bookmobile is to make learning how to use the Libby app simple and easy. Let’s break down each of those icons so that you can get started finding and borrowing books from your library today!

The search is what you tap or click when you what to find something specific. Here you can search for an author (e.g. C.S. Lewis), a title (e.g. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), or a series (e.g. The Chronicles of Narnia). You can think of searching the same way you might think of using the library’s card catalog to find a book you wanted to borrow as a kid, except you just need to type in your keyword, and Libby will do all the work to find the book for you.

The Library is what you tap or click when you want to browse your library’s digital catalog. I like to use the word browse when explaining the Library tab because it’s similar to walking around and browsing all the books on the shelves at the physical library to see if something catches your interest.

There are three ways to browse your library’s catalog – filters, curated collections, and guides.

Filters – The just added, popular, and random filters show your library’s entire catalog in a list organized by the specific criteria. The available now filter shows a list of titles that currently don’t have a waiting list, and the subject filter allows you to view a list of titles that fit within a certain subject or genre, like mystery or historical fiction.

Curated collections – You know how your library will display beach reads on an end cap in the summer and switch those out for cozy mysteries in the winter? The curated collections in the library’s digital catalog in Libby change throughout the year just like those end caps. So, you might see curated collections of titles by black authors for Black History Month, romance reads for Valentine’s Day, and presentational biographies for President’s Day in February. Then in June, you might find road trip reads, LGBTQ+ titles for Pride Month, and grilling cookbooks instead.

Guides – Guides showcase a subset of a library’s collection based on things like audience, language, theme, or genre. When you hop into a guide, it’s like walking into an area of the physical library designed for a specific type of library patron. For example, a Kids guide will display curated collections made entirely of juvenile content like picture books, read-alongs, or short chapter books, just like you would find in the children’s area of the brick-and-mortar library.

The Libby menu icon is what you tap or click to access the menu in Libby. Within Libby’s menu, you can add library cards, switch between libraries, adjust your settings for accessibility features, notifications, language, and even turn on labeled icons for the navigation bar. You can also get some help when you have any questions or need to troubleshoot any problems.

The shelf is what you tap or click to find all your loans, holds, and tags. On the main page of the Shelf, you’ll find all your current loans organized by the last time you opened them. You can tap or click the Hold filter at the top of the page to find all the titles that you are currently on the waiting list for. With the tags filter, you can view any list that you create to keep books organized in the app.

The timeline is what you tap or click to view your reading history. This is a list of titles that you’ve borrowed, placed on hold, renewed, and returned from all of your libraries broken down by month and year.