The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

The Montana online library service


August 5, 2020

The Montana online library service, Library 2 Go, is a useful service that many Big Sandy locals have grown to love. This was especially the case during quarantine when trips to the library were shut down and trips to book stores were fewer and farther between. Library 2 Go (or Libby, which is the name of one of the apps) is an online library service providing nearly 16,000 titles in audio and e-books available to anyone with a library card, an internet connection, and a means of listening or reading. For readers in a small town, this is an invaluable resource.

“I mainly listen to audiobooks, because I can listen while I do my chores,” explains Ella Idleman, an avid user of the Library 2 Go service who is going into the 7th grade this year. She has been using the service since her mother, Briana Idleman, recommended it. Briana points out: “We live quite a drive from town, and I do not have the budget to purchase every book I want to read.” For a family of avid readers who go through as many as 10 books a week on Library 2 Go, these are major advantages. Not having to drive to the library or a bookstore every few days is a major convenience.

Vanessa Jannsen listens to several audiobooks a week after hearing about the service from Darlene Cline at the library. She explains: “The biggest positive is that it’s free! I use it because I love listening to books and this app is easy to use and free... I used Audible but I stopped since it’s kinda expensive, and I’d rather just use Libby. Cost is a big part. I listen to about 100 plus books a year on it, and that would really add up if I were spending $12-16 bucks a book.”

Briana explained the value of the Library 2 Go service to her in the midst of quarantine: “2020 has been an interesting year for all of us. Although I tend to be an introvert, quarantine with a

family of 6 (4 of which are NOT introverts and usually quite loud) has been a unique challenge for someone who needs space and alone time. Libby has changed this experience for me for the better. It has given me the opportunity to take a difficult situation and turn it into a growth experience. Memoirs I have read have taught me more about my faith, my spirit, my past, and my present. Asian, African, and Native American authors have taught me how to listen to the voices of other cultures and improve my worldview. The imaginative language of fiction has provided escape to places I had never before dreamed. Utilized the right way, these books allow me to both find myself and show up as the best version of myself.”

Jeana Echols mainly uses the service to check out Kindle books: “One of the positives of Library 2 Go is that I can read my book when I don’t have a physical book available. I use the

app the most when I am doing bedtime with my sons and they want me to lay with them. I enjoy that I can read a book while still doing my duty as a mom.”

I tend to use the online library primarily for audiobooks. For me, this gives me a way to learn or engage intellectually when I would otherwise be listening to music or doing nothing. It’s great being able to work through a book while working out, driving, walking the dog, cleaning, etc. It offers a way to continue reading when my busy life might otherwise keep me from sitting down with a book.

Though users couldn’t identify much in the way of drawbacks to the Library 2 Go service, some are present. Diana Keane points out: “One of the drawbacks is that the selection is limited, and the wait time for popular books can be long.” She often uses the Amazon Kindle service to make up for the gaps in the available books, splitting her use of the service between audio and e-books that she reads on her iPad. Vanessa offered an upside to the occasional long waits: It’s always a bummer if you want a book and have to wait for a copy to become available. I’ve waited 6 months before for some books. But that just causes me to find different books to listen to while I wait. And I don’t really mind waiting since it’s free.” Jeana pointed out that the 2-week check-out time is a bit short for some of the longer Kindle books. Kelsi Hartley’s family set out looking for educational books on the online library, but quickly shifted to the more family friendly, entertainment-oriented choices that were available. She points out that the older app, Overdrive, tended to be more difficult to use. However, Libby is far more user friendly. Both the Libby and Overdrive apps, as well as, work accessing the Library 2 Go service. Each has both advantages and disadvantages that basically boil down to a matter of user preference.

Though you cannot check out books using a Big Sandy Library card, your local card is sufficient to get you a card through the Havre Public Library, which will work with the Library 2 Go service. Both Libby and Overdrive are free downloads for iPhone and Android.


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