Academic Libraries FAQs

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An OverDrive digital library is a custom collection of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and streaming videos that’s open to students, faculty, and staff 24/7. Each institution selects titles based on their own needs, from our catalog of over 3 million titles from over 30,000 publishers.

Once your digital library is live, we recommend the Libby app as the best and easiest way for users to browse, borrow, and enjoy titles from your collection. Users can also enjoy titles from your collection in the OverDrive app, in their browser, on ereaders or MP3 players, or on Kindle devices and reading apps (U.S. only).

Yes. OverDrive offers a robust assortment of free, real-time reports for tracking your institution’s digital collection.

OverDrive provides a variety of free training and support resources, including:

  • Custom one-on-one training sessions, live webinars, and on-demand training
  • Digital and printable marketing, promotional, and getting-started materials
  • Support for faculty and staff members via OverDrive Marketplace for troubleshooting and questions
  • Direct support for users through the Libby app
  • A dedicated Libby Help website with how-to articles about the Libby app for library staff and users
  • An OverDrive Help website with getting-started steps, troubleshooting tips, and how-to articles about all OverDrive topics for library staff and users

If you’d like more support and training options for your institution, please ask a sales rep or your Account Manager for more information.

About digital collections

OverDrive offers a growing catalog of millions of digital titles from over 30,000 publishers. This catalog covers virtually all areas of study and includes popular publishers and many bestsellers. We’re constantly working with new and existing publishers to add titles to the catalog.

You can subscribe to OverDrive’s weekly email newsletter, ContentWire, to learn about new publishers and titles that are added to our catalog. Staff can also browse and search for new titles (filtered by date added to Marketplace, release date, and more) using the extensive search options in OverDrive Marketplace.

No. Each institution builds a custom digital collection for their users. Your staff will be able to browse OverDrive’s extensive catalog and select titles based on your institution’s curriculum and content needs.

If you enable the “recommend to library” feature for your collection, users will also be able to recommend titles from the entire OverDrive catalog for your institution to purchase.

OverDrive offers several options for purchasing and renting digital titles, from individual copies that never expire to yearly simultaneous-access plans to pay-per-use plans.

Yes. With publisher permission, OverDrive can assist you in transferring content from another vendor to our platform. Please contact your Account Manager for more information.

No. You must use OverDrive’s services to access our catalog of titles.

We provide a variety of MARC record options for cataloging your digital content. OverDrive MARC Express offers ready-to-load minimal MARC records to your institution at no cost.

OverDrive also works with BDS, eBiblioFile, and OCLC to make full, ready-to-load MARC records available for a small fee.

Additionally, OverDrive provides a suite of APIs that can offer a deeper integration between your OverDrive content and your existing content catalog. We partner with vendors like Polaris, SirsiDynix, Innovative Interfaces, TLC, and Bibliocommons (among many others), who can help pair together your physical and digital collections.

Lending digital titles

Your institution determines the number of titles your users can borrow at a time.

Titles automatically expire at the end of their lending period and are returned to your digital collection.

If users finish borrowed titles early, they can return them manually to free up space in their account. Or, if they want more time with a title, they can renew it a few days before it’s due (as long as there are no holds).

Your institution sets the lending period options for each type of content in your collection (ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and videos).

For ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines, you can choose to lend titles for 7, 14, or 21 days. For videos, you can choose from 3, 5, or 7 days.

Some publishers reserve the right to set a lending period, which will override your institution’s preferred settings

Yes. If all available copies of a title are checked out, users can place that title on hold. Once it’s available, they’ll be notified and able to borrow it.

Your institution chooses how many titles you users can have on hold at a time.

Yes. Users can add bookmarks, notes, and highlights in any borrowed ebook or audiobook in Libby or in our browser-based ebook reader and audiobook player.

Bookmarks, notes, and highlights are saved in the book and reappear there if the user borrows it again. In Libby, users can also export these items as a web page or spreadsheet, then save them or share them with others.

Bookmarks, notes, and highlights are visible only to the user unless they’re exported and shared.

About apps, software, and devices

For Android and iOS users, we recommend using our free Libby app. With this app, users can browse your collection, borrow titles, download them, and read or listen.

Users on Windows and Mac computers don’t need to install any software. They can browse your collection and enjoy most borrowed titles right in their web browsers.

Kindle users can send ebooks from your OverDrive collection to their devices (U.S. libraries only).

We have other free software for users with different needs, like:

  • Our legacy OverDrive app: to browse, borrow, and enjoy your OverDrive titles on devices incompatible with Libby.
  • Our free desktop software: for users who want to transfer audiobooks to MP3 players.
  • Adobe Digital Editions: for users who want to transfer ebooks to ereaders.

OverDrive has a lot of options for users with differing technology needs. Here are examples of devices that work with OverDrive:

  • Tablets (Android, iOS, Windows tablets, Fire tablets)
  • Smartphones (Android, iOS)
  • Chromebooks
  • Windows and Mac computers
  • Kindle devices
  • Other ereaders (NOOK, Kobo, and more)
  • MP3 players

Visit our device profiles to learn more about how OverDrive works with common devices.


OverDrive can send authentication requests to active directory or federated authentication servers to validate users. We can also use your existing integrated library system database via SIP2, EZproxy, or similar protocol. If none of these options are suitable, we can also authenticate your users with an OverDrive-developed tool called User Login Manager.

User Login Manager is an OverDrive-hosted portal that allows your institution to upload and manage library card numbers or other user logins for your OverDrive service. User Login Manager is free with your digital collection.