There’s an App for That!: Read, Watch, and Listen with hoopla

Apps for this, apps for that. Take a look at your phone or mobile device, and you’ll see what we mean. This one’s for reading; that one’s for video streaming; another might be your go-to for the latest playlists and albums. Have you ever wished that you could find an all-in-one app that brings you the quality content you crave? If so, the library might just have what you’re looking for–at no cost!

hoopla is a one-stop borrowing experience that has quite recently joined the Abbot Library’s digital service menu. Just as our brick-and-mortar library offers so much more than just books, hoopla gives you access to–at last count–792,284 ebooks, e-audiobooks, music, films, TV, and even comics. 

As a first-time user, you may want to hop onto it via your browser first to see a potpourri of featured titles, often by categories like “hoopla Movies of the Month” and (currently) “Celebrating Black Music Month.” From here, you can also browse by format and category: perhaps audiobooks in the category “Conversations about Race,” or “Featured” music by release date. You’ll find brand-new albums like Pick Me Up Off the Floor by Norah Jones as well as diverse collections in just about any genre you can think of. While you’re at it, have a peek at some of the library’s specially-curated collections in audiobook, movie/TV, and music formats–they’re distinguishable by titles beginning with “2020 APL” like this one: “2020 APL Comfort Food Cinema.” One of hoopla’s best features? Everything is always available to everyone, 24/7–no holds, no waits!

You can also go straight to the hoopla app via your app store and dive in to find all of the above and more. You’ll immediately see your personal “Borrowed” page with a prompt to search for your next great read, watch, or listen. You’ll also see your previously borrowed titles–a real boon if you’re reading or watching a series! A “Favorites” tab keeps track of titles you’ve “liked” during previous searches but weren’t ready to check out yet. Once again, you can browse or search by format, or just search all formats at once by artist/author, title, or series. Want to try out your research skills? Try an “Advanced Search” to discover even more content that suits your personal taste.

While you won’t be barraged with spam, hoopla will send you the occasional email, reminding you of the number of borrows you have remaining, highlighting new collections, or inviting you to participate in their “book clubs” (see this post for an example). Watch for “hoopla Digital” as the sender. New titles are added monthly, so this platform is definitely dynamic– you won’t want to miss anything!

For detailed instructions on how to sign up for hoopla with your Marblehead library card, take a look at our FAQs page. If you don’t currently have a card, begin here. And if you want to stream hoopla video content on your smart TV, there are detailed instructions on the hoopla help page. As always, if you have any other questions about hoopla, feel free to contact the reference staff at!


Libby vs. Overdrive: Which App To Use?

For months, we’ve been urging our patrons to download and read books using Libby and Overdrive while the doors of our library are closed. While many users are familiar with using the apps, many of you may not know WHY there are two separate apps for the same reading purposes. Today we are here to explain the basics!

What is the difference between Libby and the OverDrive app?

Libby is a new app released by OverDrive. It has the same collection of titles as the OverDrive app – it’s just a different way to access the same digital library collection. Libby is a fast and attractive digital browsing experience. Here are some features unique to Libby:

  • Simple, step-by-step on-boarding the first time you open the app
  • Loans and holds are automatically added to your Shelf (from all your libraries), so you can easily find all your books in one place
  • Start reading immediately after you borrow; no need to choose a file format
  • See your at-a-glance progress through each book on your Shelf
  • Navigate easily between your Shelf and your library’s catalog
  • Add, remove, and rename cards from all your libraries in one place
  • Use tags to categorize books however you’d like
  • Set browsing and list preferences to show only the content you’re interested in

OverDrive is the “classic” app, and is compatible with more devices, including Kindle Fire, Macs, PCs, and Windows mobile devices. It also allows for transfer to MP3 players from computers. 

Which app should I use? 

If you use one iOS or Android device to browse, download, and read or listen to digital books, we recommend trying Libby. It’s a great one-device experience.

If you like to read books on many devices, or prefer to browse for new titles on your computer, stick with the OverDrive app for now. Also, if you make use of accessibility features in the OverDrive app, you’ll need to stick with that until more accessibility features get added to Libby.

Meet Libby: The One-Tap Reading App From Your Library

With Libby, you can browse, borrow, and enjoy eBooks, audiobooks, and magazines from your library without ever having to register for a new account! To start using Libby, all you need is an internet connection, a compatible device (iOS, Android, Windows 10+), and your library card number.

For full step-by-step instructions on how to use Libby, please feel free to click below to download the following PowerPoint presentation that one of our staff has created for you.

Comfort Food TV

Are you craving a little cinematic culinary comfort? Longing to savour a sumptuous series? The Abbot Public Library has curated a select menu of foodie-approved film and television fare just for our patrons! If you’re in the mood for a side of romance with an at-home dinner date, you may just try Ang Lee’s Eat, Drink, Man, Woman or Chocolat (this one starring Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp, and Judi Dench). Or perhaps you’d like to escape our troubled present and time-travel to a Victorian dining room with Christopher Kimball in Fannie’s Last Supper, a recreation of one of Fannie Farmer’s decadent 12-course meals. We invite you to sample all of these films and more from our library-curated film collection on hoopla2020 APL Comfort Food Cinema

For some tasty kitchen-sink drama, you might also try Acorn TV’s series Delicious or Pie in the Sky; to sample menus from great British country houses of the past, take a look at Lords and Ladles. Just open your RBDigital app and search for the titles!

If your tastes run to food-filled adventure, then tune in to another of the library’s special hoopla collections: 2020 APL Comfort Food TV. Here, you can sink your teeth into some food/travel documentaries like Paul & Nick’s Big American Food Trip or No Passport Required. If tea is, well, your cup of tea, travel round the world to learn all about it with Victoria Wood’s Nice Cup of Tea on Acorn TV (again, search the title in your RBDigital app). Or get in the kitchen and get your hands messy with the pros of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country–further selections to be found in the hoopla 2020 APL Comfort Food TV collection. Your culinary quest awaits!

If you’re eager to tickle your tastebuds with these offerings (and much more) but have not yet signed up for hoopla or Acorn TV, please take a look at our FAQ page to get started. Bon appetit!

Zoom’s Boom

Typing “Zoom hacking” into Google will yield you 113,000,000 results. Going a step broader, and typing “Zoom privacy” will pull up 1,390,000,000 results. So, what’s the big deal with this Zoom thing anyways?

Odds are that you’ve taken part in at least one conference call, fitness class, or family meet-up on the Zoom app. Zoom is one of the many apps that people are finding to be godsends while we are stuck indoors. Zoom’s function is very simple. You get a group of people together via an invite link, and have a video-conferencing call. It couldn’t be simpler, really. Is that where things go wrong?

In the past week, Zoom has been under intense scrutiny, particularly for how they handle user privacy. The backlash has even pushed Zoom’s CEO to admit that he “really messed up.”

Like Facebook, Zoom’s privacy policy included the right to collect data, store it, and share it with third-parties such as advertisers. This ‘data’ includes your name and location. Most companies request this data. So, what makes Zoom different? Zoom’s right to collect your data also included “the content contained in cloud recordings and instant messages, files, [and] whiteboards…shared while using the service.” Still feel great about using Zoom?

Another issue is something called “Zoombombing”. Similar to photo-bombing and party-crashing, Zoombombing occurs when an uninvited guest joins your Zoom meeting. Also similar to photo-bombing and party-crashing, Zoombombing can be aggravating and disruptive. Zoombombers can join a Zoom meeting simply by acquiring the invite link, which may have been forwarded one too many times by a real guest. Zoombombers have been known to broadcast pornographic, racist, or otherwise vitriolic content. These incidents have prompted Boston’s FBI office to issue warnings about Zoom.

So, how can you stay safe on Zoom? And, what is Zoom doing to fix their clear issues? As bad as all of this sounds, Zoom has made huge improvements in their handling of privacy, as well as implementing strong procedures to protect against unwanted guests.

For starters, this week Zoom revised their privacy policy. Zoom no longer has rights to distribute users’ personal data. It will no longer store and keep any names or locations of users. Further, Zoom wants you to know that “your meetings are yours” and they “do not monitor them or even store them after your meeting is done”.

As for the Zoombombing issue, Zoom has added two big safeguards to protect against these unwanted guests. Firstly, Zoom users must enter a meeting-specific password when joining a meeting. Secondly, Zoom now uses a virtual waiting room, which allows the host to see participants before allowing them access to the meeting. This virtual staging area will be crucial in stopping unwanted guests from entering a public meeting.

We should also take steps personally to prevent Zoombombers. Make sure that you have mastered the use of Zoom before hosting a large or public meeting. For example, did you know that by clicking on a participant’s name, you can mute them, or prevent screen sharing? Remember not to let the Trojan horse into your Zoom meeting. Keep a close eye on your guests, and if you see something, say something. Zoom can be a safe and important tool for us, especially at this critical time. Just make sure that you are cautious and alert while on a Zoom meeting. Now, when you’ve mastered Zoom, take a deep breath in, and enjoy your Zoom yoga session, 18th work meeting this week, happy hour, or that family meet-up with your in-laws, and that weird uncle that you “really don’t want to attend. I’m tired,” (Smile — If you’re lucky, the host is using a basic account, and the meeting can only last 40 minutes).