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Information for getting started and some frequently asked questions.


OVERDRIVE & LIBBY (eBooks, eAudiobooks, Magazines)


  1. Are you using a mobile device - phone, tablet, chromebook?
    • Download either the Overdrive or Libby app from either the Apple, Google, Amazon, or Windows store.
    • Open the app and follow the prompts to sign in or sign up using your library card. 
    • Learn the difference between signing up and signing in.
    • Find the Alexandria Library collection (make sure you are looking at the Alexandria Library in Virginia and don't use the word 'public' in the name).
    • Find a title you'd like to check out and click "Borrow".
      • Select Read now with Kindle (U.S. only) to complete checkout on Amazon's website and send the book to your Kindle device or Kindle reading app.  Make sure you deliver the book to the correct Amazon account and device.  It can't be reinstalled if you make a mistake.  Your Kindle eReader needs to have a WiFi connection to download library eBooks from Amazon.  If you aren't connected to the Internet you'll need to transfer via a USB connection.
      • Select Download to download EPUB ebooks and MP3 audiobooks to the app Bookshelf.
      • Once a format has been selected, it can't be changed.
    • To see all of your borrowed titles, tap the three books icon to go to your library Loans page.
  2. Are you using a desktop, laptop or chromebook?
    • Use a web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari) and go to 
    • Click the "Sign In" button in the top right of the page.
    • Enter your library card number and then click "Sign In".
    • Search for a title and the click "Borrow".
    • Chose the amount of time you'd like to borrow and then click "Borrow".
    • Click "Read Now in Browser".  Reading progress and bookmarks are stored in the cloud, so you can pick up where you left off.
    • Alternatively you may click "Download EPUB eBook" and download the file to your computer.  However, you will need an EPUB reader already installed on your computer.  You can download Adobe Digital Editions here.  You may also need an Adobe ID if you don't already have one.
  3. Are you using the Library's mobile app?
    • You can read an ebook or listen to an audiobook from inside the library's mobile app. (You can't read a magazine in the library's app.)
    • Open the app on your device.
    • Click "My Account" and then choose "Checkouts"
    • Click on the title you'd like to use.  Click "Download HTML" to read or "Listen Now" to listen to an audiobook.
  4. More help can be found here.

EBSCO (eBooks)

  1. Are you using a mobile device - phone, tablet or chromebook?
    • Download the free Adobe Digital Editions app from Apple or Google store. 
    • Sign up for an Adobe ID or use an exsiting account.
    • Due to licensing, some eBooks may require you to create an EBSCO account.  Do that here
    • Authorize the Adobe Digital Editions app and device with your Adobe ID.  This will only need to be done once.
    • Use your device's web browser to search for a title.
    • Click the Download link for the eBook you would like to read on your device.
    • Select the checkout period from the drop down menu.
    • Choose the EPUB version for mobile devices and click Download.
    • Once the book downloads you will get a notice to open in Adobe Digital Editions.  Choose this.
    • The "Download Successful!" screen will appear.
    • Click "Read Now" to read on your device.
    • For more information:
  2. Are you using a desktop or laptop?
    • If you are inside the library go to the EBSCO website
    • If you are accessing this collection from home, work or school, log in remotely.  Type in your library card number and choose "EBSCO eBooks" from the left column.
    • Due to licensing, some eBooks may require you to create an EBSCO account.  Do that here then sign in to your account.
    • Some books may also require that you have an EPUB reader installed on your desktop or laptop.  You can download Adobe Digital Editions here.  You may also need an Adobe ID if you don't already have one.
    • Use the search bar to find a title.
    • Once you find a title you may choose Download or PDF File
    • Choose the checkout period from the drop down menu.
    • Choose PDF form.
    • Click Download.
    • If the book is an EPUB it can be opened in Adobe Digital Editions.  If the book is in PDF format it will open with Adobe Reader.  You can also save the PDF to your desktop or laptop.




  1. GVRL eBooks are not available using an app.  You can use a mobile device with a browser to view the collection.
  2. Access the collection here
  3. Search for the title you'd like to read in the search bar and press Enter.
  4. Click the title to open up the detailed page.
  5. Click the blue "View eBook" button to open the book in your browser.  This opens the "Book View".  This version is similar to flipping pages in books.  You can also read in Text View. 
  6. You can also browse through the table of contents and open just the section you are interested in.
  7. Use the Previous and Next buttons to navigate through the chapters.
  8. Use the Zoom In and Zoom Out features to make the pages bigger or smaller.
  9. Using the arrow buttons will fit the pages to your screen which may make it easier to read.
  10. Use the full screen button to expand the book in your browser.  Hit ESC to exit full screen mode.
  11. Signing in with your Google or Microsoft account will allow you to save the citations, highlights and Text View documents for later.
  12. More information can be found here.


Why do I have to wait for ebooks and eaudiobooks? Aren't digital books unlimited?
Libraries have to purchase an e-book in the same way they purchase physical books. Instead of purchasing a physical copy the library purchases a license. Part of this license requires that only one copy be available to one user at a time, just like physical books. This ensures that authors, narrators and other creators are paid fairly for their work, even when consumed digitally.

Why not just purchase more digital copies to reduce wait times?
The number of copies the library purchases depends on demand and budget. However, digital book licenses for libraries cost more than a consumer purchasing a digital copy at a retailer and can cost more than physical books. While a physical book can cost the library $15-20 each, a digital license can cost $45-$100 depending on the title.

What is an eBook embargo?
Learn more about it here.

Last updated:  March 2021