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OverDrive is a free service for library books. You can use your Lone Star library card number to make an account. When you have an account, you can borrow free ebooks and free e-audiobooks with this app. You can read the books you borrow in this app, too.
Some books you can borrow instantly. Some books you will have to wait for. The app will let you know when a book can be borrowed.
This guide will show you how to make an account and use the app.
Create An Account to Start Using OverDrive
Step 1: Opening OverDrive for the first time
When you first tap the OverDrive app, you will see this screen.
If you haven't made an account, click on "Sign Up" to make an account.
Step 2: Decide how to make an account.
Click on the red button that reads "Sign Up Using Library Card."
Step 3: Find your library.
You will be using the Harris County Public Library (HCPL).
Type Harris County and hit "Go" to search. HCPL should be your first result.
Tap the screen where it says "Harris County Public Library."
Step 4: Enter your library barcode.
Enter the 14-number library barcode from the back of your student ID card.
Step 5: Finish set-up
Select that you are older than 13-years-old. If you enter your name and an email address, you will create an OverDrive account. You can also choose to receive emails from OverDrive suggesting books to you.
When you're ready, tap the blue Sign Up! button.
Step 6: Adding a library to your account
You will need to attach a library to the account you just made. Tap on the "Add library" button.
Step 6b: Adding a library to your account
Type "harris county" in the search box, as shown below, then tap "Search."
You may also type out the full name, "harris county public library," to have fewer results in the next step.
Step 6c: Adding a library to your account
In the list of libraries that comes back, look for Harris County Public Library. Tap it to select.
Step 6d: Adding a library to your account
Tap the star icon to "favorite" this library and save it to your account.
Step 7: Ready to browse and search
Now when you go back to the main OverDrive screen, the + icon will be set up to look for books from Harris County Public Library.
Get a Book from OverDrive
Step 1: Add a title
When you open the app, you can just tap the + to start looking for books from Harris County Public Library.
Step 2: Browsing
You can start browsing titles just by looking at what OverDrive suggests.
There is also a search bar at the top of the app. You can look for ideas, authors, or book titles to see if there are any matches in the collection.
Step 2: Browsing
Look under the cover image to check whether something is a book (for you to read) or audiobook (for you to listen to) (blue arrows).
If you see the word "Borrow" (red box), that book is available for you to check out.
The icon with the 3 dots (...) will show you extra options when tapped, including "View details" where you can learn more about that book.
This is what the Book Details view looks like. As you scroll down the page, you will see more information, like how many copies are available for you to check out and a summary of the book.
Books for young adults, teens, and children will have information about the reading level of the book. It may include an ATOS score, a Lexile score, an interest level according to US grade levels, and a Text Difficulty rating.
Step 3: Enter your barcode
To borrow a book, tap the "Borrow" button. (If a book isn't available, you have the option to go on a waitlist for it.)
When you borrow a book for the first time, you're still finishing up your account creation a little bit. Enter your library barcode, but be sure to tap the checkbox to make the app remember it, so you won't have to do this again.
Your book is checked out!
You will see a little note at the top of the screen confirming to you that you have borrowed the book. It will also tell you when the book is due back.
One of the nice things about ebooks is that you don't have to worry about turning the book in -- it will automatically turn itself back in when it needs to. You don't have to do anything! If you want to keep the book longer, though, you also have the option to "renew" the book through your account.
Step 4: Start reading your book
To read the books you have borrowed, click on the little bookshelf icon at the top of the app (an arrow is pointing to it in the below picture). This area will show your books ("Loans"). You can also see books you're waiting for ("Holds") and books you've made note of ("Wishlist").
To start reading your book, just tap the "Read Now" button. This will let you read the book inside the OverDrive app.
Reading the book
The app will open the book to the very beginning, if you haven't read any of it yet, or to the place you stopped reading.
Learning new words
Just like the Kindle books, you can hold down your finger over a word to select it and choose "Define" to see a dictionary definition.
Changing more settings
If you tap the book in the center of the page, you will open up more options to let you see where you are in the book (and jump to another part), to add a bookmark so you can come back to a notable page, and change how the words look on the page.
To close the app, just use the round home button option at the bottom of the screen.