Monday, January 3, 2011

Gizmo, Gadgets, and Downloading…Oh My!

Did you find a Nook, Kindle, Ipod, Sony e-Reader, or other digital device under your tree this year? Are you wondering what type of free downloads the library can offer for your gadget? Welcome to the quick Q & A session that will hopefully leave you as technologically savvy as your new gizmo!

What services are available?

The library offers audio books, e-books, music, and videos. These resources are available through two different subscription databases: Overdrive and NetLibrary. Many titles in the Netlibrary collection are now available to be downloaded to an ebook device. There is a feature in advanced search where you can look for downloadable titles only.

Overdrive is a subscription database that can include Adobe PDF eBooks, audiobooks, MP3 audiobooks, Music, and Video. Unlike NetLibrary these resources can be downloaded so there are different file types and compatibility depending on devices. Check out time is usually 7 or 14 days.

NetLibrary is subscription database, which can include eBooks, eJournals, audiobooks, and reference resources. Patrons can search for and read full-text eContent (eBooks or eJournals) or listen to audiobooks. Now there are many titles that can be downloaded, there is a feature in advanced search where you can look just for those downloadable titles.

Do these services work with my device?

Each subscription database has different compatibility needs. In a nutshell the Barnes and Noble Nook works with both databases and at this time the Kindle does not work with either database. The details of other devices can be found on the NetLibrary and Overdrive wesbites. There is also a cheatsheet provided by Waukesha County Library System for Overdrive.

But Kindle users fear not, if you know other people with Kindles, you can borrow their e-books from them for up to two weeks through Amazon.

How can I get my device to work with these services?


Because Overdrive has more devices that are compatible with it and options for downloading, learning how to use your device can be a little bit more difficult. The first thing you should do is check the link of devices that has some information on what you may need to download before using your device.

  1. Have your current library card handy.

  2. From a computer go to the library website, click on subscription databases, and select Overdrive.

  3. Sign in, your library system is Waukesha County Federated Library. Then enter your library card. From there you have access to the entire system.

  4. Remember some of your devices need specific software that you can download for free from their website. Check out their getting started guide.

  5. Fill your cart with items you want, and check out. Check out days are either 7 or 14 days depending on the item. There will pictures that indicate what type of item you are checking out (e-book, audio book, etc).

  6. After checking out you will be able to download these items to your computer. After downloading them, plug in your device to the computer.

  7. Once your computer recognizes your device, you should be able to move files from the computer to the device. It will take awhile the first time you try, so don't get discouraged. I have to be honest the first time I tried out these items it took me 45 minutes to get everything going. Your device should have an informational website where people have posted answers to problems you might be having. A trick I use is typing the question in Google. For example "How do I make my Nook work with Overdrive.

To access NetLibrary your device has to be able to access the internet and surf websites. Like the Nook. Here are the steps on how to use your device:

  1. Sign up for an account in a Waukesha County Federated Library System library. You must be in the library to sign up for the account for the first time. Ask for library staff help at the reference desk. Once you have an account you can use your account from anywhere with internet access.

  2. Go to from your device and sign in. Most devices have the option of adding webpages to your favorites list, and saving your sign in information. This is really handy, especially for devices that are a little difficult to navigate on the web. It saved me at least 4 minutes every time I logged in using the Nook.

  3. Read away! There are two different types ways to access resources. The first is resources that cannot be checked out or downloaded, but viewed 15 minutes at a time. The second are resources that can be downloaded. There is a feature in the advanced search where you can look only for downloadble titles. Remember if you have any questions ask at the library! You can call us at (262) 363-6411 or stop in.

Update as of 01/13/2011 - For detailed download instructions for your Nook to your PC check this link.

Update as of 01/17/2011 - There are downloadable titles available for your device from Netlibrary. The blog was updated to explain.

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