Life with MS

Ebooks and Videos From Your Library

By Joanne Fortunato

Getting digital entertainment such as eBooks and audiobooks is relatively simple. All you need is an Internet connection and a mobile device, such as a phone or tablet.

There are several ways to get digital entertainment. However, one of the most overlooked sites that delivers material is your local library. There is no fee, and the amount of time that you can access eBooks, audiobooks, and videos is similar to the library's hard-copy policies. This process has become standardized. Someone from your local library will often teach patrons how to use their system. Even if you are trained by the library, this article can serve as a review of the procedure. The app needed to accomplish this is called Overdrive, a free download for both Android and Apple devices.

Obtain the Overdrive Program

Download the free Overdrive app from Google Play (Android) or iTunes (Apple). If you need help, check the Google Play or Apple website and search the support page for instructions.

Register for an Adobe Overdrive Account 

Overdrive was created by Adobe, and in order to use the app, you will need an Adobe Overdrive account. When you open the Overdrive app for the first time, you are given a chance to create an account. Make sure to remember the email account you used and your password. If you have more than one device, you can log in with this account to sync the devices. Make sure to download the app and titles onto each device.

Using Overdrive 

Overdrive takes practice to use. A first-time user should get instruction at the library or watch tutorials; go to and choose your device/operating system.

Connecting to the Library

You need to be connected to the Internet for this step. Open the Overdrive app and press on “Add a Library.” Follow instructions to add your local library. Once you have loaded your library, sign in to access the digital material. This is not the same procedure you used for your Overdrive account. You need a library access code, which can be found on the bar code of your library card. If you are having trouble with this step or do not have a library card, call the library. Check “Remember my login” so you do not have to retype the access code each time you sign in.

Getting Titles to Your Device

You need to be connected to the Internet to search for library materials. When you find a title you want to sign out, you have several options. If the title is available, you can borrow it immediately. You will be asked to download the EPUB eBook or read in your browser. If you want access to the title when Wi-Fi is not available, you need to download the EPUB format. If the title is not available for checkout, you can add it to your holds list. You will be emailed when the title becomes available. Once you download a title, it is on your device for the allowed checkout time. To access the title, press the menu option (the three bars in the upper left corner). Choose “bookshelf” to see your list of signed-out titles, and press on the title you want to use.

Using the eBook Reader

The Overdrive eBook reader is easy to use. Choose the eBook icon and a topic from the list. To learn how to use eBooks, choose Reading eBooks.

Tips and Tricks
  • You do not have to download a title. You can read, listen, and watch on the Internet. However, the advantage of downloading a title is you do not need an Internet connection to use digital material. This makes it possible to use media at doctors’ offices and other locations without Wi-Fi.
  • Overdrive allows video streaming. You need an Internet connection to do this. Internet connections at public locations such as coffee shops are often not strong enough to stream content. Many libraries offer video titles. A simple search of your library Overdrive site will show you what is available. Most devices will hook up to your HD television. Check your device’s support page for more information.
  • The advance search features are very helpful. You can search by subject, author, title, and publisher. Searching for titles that are “Available Now” allows you to find titles that can be signed out immediately. Otherwise, you can put titles on hold and you will be emailed when that title is available.
If you are unable to visit your local library, using Adobe Overdrive is a great way to bring library content to you at home, at the doctor’s office, or when you are on vacation. While the Overdrive program can be overwhelming, there are excellent resources available to learn its many features. Enjoy your favorite book or video on your schedule, not the library’s.
Joanne Fortunato, BS, MA is a retired computer technology teacher in Troy, N.Y. She has a master’s degree in education and has been teaching technology to teachers and students for 30 years. She has published several articles and books on educational computer technology, including several articles with the International Society for Technology in Education. She was diagnosed with MS in 2006 and uses technology to aid in coping with the many difficulties that MS can present. She is excited to share this information with others that deal with the same and many other issues on a daily basis.