ALBANY COUNTY — Upper Hudson Library System cardholders can now digitally access 50 major magazines for free with the Libby app or on OverDrive on major electronic devices.
Such magazine titles include New York Magazine, Elle, Oprah, Esquire, TV Guide, National Enquirer, Us Weekly, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Food Network and Reader’s Digest. Cardholders can also access e-books and audiobooks on Libby and OverDrive and can access them outside their library, like at home or during their everyday commute.
UHLS is an association of 29 public libraries with 36 locations, serving Albany and Rensselaer counties. “We provide both the Libby app and OverDrive, depending on the patron’s preference,” said Natalie Hurteau, UHLS’s manager of adult and outreach services. “Anyone who has a library card within the Upper Hudson Library System can access all that content. It’s free, convenient and easy.”
Although the 50 magazine titles have been digitally available since early January, UHLS wants to continue spreading the word to patrons who are not yet aware of the free content they have access to.
“We had multiple meetings with our library members last November and December to talk about wanting to make this transition and we believed the overall bigger picture is having one app [Libby] for people to use,” said Hurteau. “In the past, we’ve had a lot of user errors and patron confusion when using multiple apps to access digital content.”
Judith Wines, the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Community Library’s director, expressed support for the transition. “We love being able to tell patrons that they can access magazines, e-books and e-audiobooks all in one place by using Libby,” she said. “And library users love being able to access what they want anywhere, anytime.”
Geoffrey Kirkpatrick, the Bethlehem Public Library’s director, said BPL had OverDrive offer patrons digital access to a few magazine titles years ago and later used another platform, Flipster, that offered 15 magazine titles. But this year, he liked UHLS’s use of Libby and OverDrive as they offer more free digital content than the Bethlehem library had before.
“Bethlehem is a community that supports the library so much and I’m really excited about the new digital content access which I think people will find very useful,” Kirkpatrick said. He added that patrons who don’t know how to access the digital content can call the library’s help desk or come in so a librarian can assist.
Hurteau said since the 50 digital magazines have been available, the public reaction has been mostly positive. “It was not really difficult to make the transition to use Libby and OverDrive this year because many people already know how to use and read ebooks and audiobooks like on their Kindles,” she concluded. “They’re used to it now and we wanted to make ease of access more equitable by having the content in [Libby].”
For more information, visit the Libby app at www.overdrive.com/apps/libby, the OverDrive platform at uhls.overdrive.com/collection/1037412 or visit your UHLS library for assistance.