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How to Use Libby

Mon, 03/16/2020 - 3:08pm by KatieD

Check out Libby, a free app offered through AADL that lets you download audiobooks and kindle books straight to your phone. We've created step-by-step instructions for using Libby along with screenshots! You will need your library card to create a Libby account.

Happy Reading!

Installing Libby

The screenshots here are from an iPhone, but the process should look similar on any phone.

1. Search the Libby app in your app store. Select the one pictured at the top here:

An image of Libby in the App Store

2. Download the free app.

3. Once the app has downloaded, open it. The screen should look like this:

An image of the Libby Welcome Screen

4. After you select yes, it will give you three options. If you already have Libby, select the first. Otherwise, search for a library.

An image of the Libby set up screen

5. Search “Ann Arbor.” It should bring up “Midwest Collaborative for Library Services.” Select this option.

An image of the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services Option

6. The next screen will ask you to sign into your account. It will ask where you use your library card. Select “Choose A Location.”

An image of the library card set up on Libby

7. From the menu select “Ann Arbor District Library.”

The menu of libraries to select from

8. The app will then prompt you to enter your library account number. This is the number on the back of your Ann Arbor Library Card.

Image of the textbox to enter your library card number

9. It should give you a virtual card. You have the option to rename the card if you would like. Otherwise, click “Next.”

An image of your digital library card on Libby

10. Now your app is all set up and you’re at the home screen!

An image of the Libby homescreen



At all times, there will be five options at the bottom of your screen:

  • Search
  • Home
  • Profile/Settings
  • Shelf
  • Reading Timeline

These are represented by different icons.

An image of the icons on Libby

Searching for Books

Place a Hold

1. You can just do a general search for books by clicking the magnifying glass in the bottom lefthand corner.


An image of the home page with an arrow point to the search function

2. In this example, there is both an audio version and a kindle version. Audiobooks will ask you if you want to “play a sample” and kindle versions will ask if you want to “read a sample.”

An image of an audio book and kindle book on Libby

3. Selecting the calendar in the upper righthand corner will tell you more information about the estimated wait for this item if you place a hold on it now.

An image of hold information on Libby

4. Selecting “Place Hold” will take you to a new screen.

An image of placing a hold on Libby

5. When you have successfully placed a hold, this screen should appear

An image of a successfully placed on hold on Libby

6. When the book is ready for you to check out, you will get a notification alerting you that it is ready for you to borrow. It will also appear at the top of your shelf. 

An image of a book ready to be borrowed

7. You can either borrow the book, or select "deliver later" which is a great option if you already have a lot of books you are working on. Use the sliding scale to adjust how long you would like to delay delivery. Then select update hold. 

An image of the delay delivery screen


Download a Book

1. Follow the directions above for searching for books

2. Where the options originally listed “Place Hold,” it will now say “Borrow.”

An image of an available audiobook on Libby

3. Selecting borrow will take you to a new screen. At the top, it will tell you how long you will have this book out for. You can tap this to adjust how long you are checking the ebook or audiobook out for.

An image of the borrow screen on Libby

4. If you are connected to Wi-Fi, the book should automatically begin to download.

5. Audiobooks should automatically play in the Libby app.

6. Kindle books will give you the option to read in the app or on the Kindle app. There is no way to switch between Kindle and Libby. Once you select one, you must use it for the duration of the loan.

An image of successfully borrowing a book from Libby

Refining a Search

If you are searching for specific items or types of books, you can refine your search.

1. Conduct your search as explained above.

2. Once you have your results, you can refine the search further. Among other options, you can choose “format” to limit the results to only kindle books or audiobooks. You can also customize the availability to only items that are available now or items that are coming soon.

An image of the refining menu

3. Note: if you select preferences, you can customize what you see on all future searches, not just this one.

An image of the preferences menu on Libby


Your Shelf


You can view all of the items you currently have checked out on your shelf. At the top, there are multiple sorting options. The book you are currently reading usually appears at the top. 

An image of the shelf on Libby

Reading/Listening to Your Books

1. Select the books icon at the bottom of your screen.

2. If you had previously downloaded an audiobook and it was returned before you finished it, it should ask you if you want to resume where you left off the next time you borrow it. 

3. When you open an audiobook, there are multiple options.

  • You can adjust the reading speed by clicking the clock icon at the top of the screen.
  • You can set a sleep timer by selecting the moon at the top of the screen.
  • You can view all bookmarks.
  • You can add a bookmark by selecting the bookmark icon at the top of the screen.
  • You can view the chapters of the story.

An image of the audiobook display on Libby

4. When you open a kindle book in Libby, the screen should look like this. Clicking the "A" in the upperhand right corner allows you to adjust the appearance of the text including:

  • Scale/Size (Toggle on the "include accessibility sizes" option to get a wider range of font sizes)
  • Lighting
  • Book design/font (which includes an "OpenDyslexic" font option)

An image of a kindle book in Libby

Manage Loan

1. Selecting “Manage Loan” will give you the options: “Return Early” or “Renew Loan.” You can also view your reading journey thus far, share the book, and view what tags you have given it.

An image of the manage loan options

2. If you are finished with a book, you can select “Return Early” so that it can get to the next person.

3. If your book is due back soon, it should give you the option to “Renew Loan.” As with physical library books, if the item is on hold for another patron it may not let you renew the item.

4. If your loan period has ended and you have not renewed, the book will be returned automatically.

Download Rules

1. Select the checkmark in the upper right corner of your loan to remove the download or change the download rules.

An image of the download rules options


2. Removing the download will delete the book from your phone, but will not remove it from your shelf. You can re-download it from the cloud at any time during your loan period.

3. Selecting “Change Download Rules” will take you to options for what loans should be downloaded automatically.

An image of the download options menu


Tagging is optional, but it allows you to sort books into lists to find and borrow later.

1. Conduct a search as explained above.

2. Click on the image of the book cover. 

3. The screen will show your reading journey, if it exists, general tags applied to this title, and a description of the book. 

An image of the book details

4. Select the tag option. You can choose from premade tags or create a new tag.

An image of the tags menu on Libby

5. Tags must be short and are generally one word. You have the option to add a longer description if you would like. 

An image of the create new tags option on Libby

6. Once you've created your tag, you should see it under the book title. 

An image of the book details with the new tag

7. You can also view your tags on your shelf by selecting the tags option at the top of the screen.

An image of the tags option on the shelf


1. If your books are not downloading with data, check your download rules. You may have download only on wifi turned on. 

2. If your book is giving you an error, saying that it failed to load, try removing it from your device and then re-downloading it. 

3. Check the Libby website's troubleshooting page.



This is very helpful and thorough! I wish the AADL website made it easier to see the ebooks and audiobooks section. Libby looks much easier to use than the previous way I accessed Overdrive.

I like to listen to CDs in my car. Can Libby be used through my car's audio system? How is that done?

Hi there, sure! If you have a smartphone or tablet, and your car has Bluetooth or an AUX jack, you can run Libby on your mobile device and send the audio via bluetooth or the headphone jack to your car audio. Thanks for your interest!

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