Tuesday 28 February 2017

Borrowing Books from the Gauteng E-Library

On the fourth of February, I set foot in the Alberton public library, the first time I'd been in a library since I was in Primary School.

"But Graham," I hear you say, "I thought you only read e-books these days."

True, but I needed a library card. You see, I'd heard of this new initiative by the Gauteng Public Libraries department. In partnership with OverDrive, they allow members to borrow e-books and audiobooks from their collection.

Since I hadn't had a library card since I was a kid, I thought it was high time I applied for one.

The process was very smooth, with no waiting period. I walked out of there on the same day, with a shiny new library card.

Although I got my card immediately, it took a good three weeks for it to become active on the e-library website, but eventually it worked. I only signed in for the first time last Thursday, but it's super cool!

If you'd like to give it a try (it's free), follow these steps:
  1. Visit the Gauteng E-Library website at https://gauteng.overdrive.com/
  2. If you see a red bar at the bottom, asking if you want to try the new OverDrive library, click it. You'll see something similar to the screenshot above.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and under "My Account", click "Sign in"
  4. Enter your library card number, and click "Sign In"

A couple of caveats:
  • If you have an old library card (obtained more than about a year ago), it may not work. You'll have to go into your library, and apply for a new one.
  • Also, if you've only recently acquired your card, be patient. Mine was active on the site after about three weeks, but they say it can take up to a month.

If you're not in Gauteng, or even in South Africa, it's still worth doing some research to find out if your local library has a similar offering. Chances are, it does.

Please Help by Recommending My Books

When you search the site for books, you get two sets of search results. The first set are books that are in the library's collection. If they're available to borrow, click "Borrow" to check them out. If they're already out, you can place a "Hold" on them, and the library will let you know when they're back.

The second set of results are books that aren't in your library's collection, but are available for the library to order from OverDrive. At the time of this writing, my books fall into that category, so if you search for "Graham Downs", you'll see the following:

Click the "See All" link on the right, above my covers.

You'll be taken to the full list of my books available on OverDrive. Hover over each one in turn and click "Recommend". Then enter your e-mail address and click "Recommend this Title", and the library will send you an e-mail when that book is available.

I'd really like to persuade the library to buy copies of my e-books, and I have a feeling the more people who recommend it, the better the chances are of that happening. So please help.

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