Tuesday Listening Tip: Overdrive, Hoopla, & “Super” Library Cards

Black headphones on purple background

Paying a small fee for a card from a larger library branch can save you a lot in the long run!

Today’s listening tip will build off of yesterday’s Monday Discovery about the many things local libraries have to offer in the digital age. Libraries are an incredibly underutilized resource for audiobook listening.

Let’s face it, an audiobook habit can be a little expensive to satisfy, especially for marathon listeners like myself. Most libraries today have a fair selection of audiobooks (CD & digital) that listeners can have unlimited access to for only a small yearly library fee (some libraries are even free!).

From what I have seen, a library card can run anywhere from $0-45 a year, depending on the size of the library and city in which it is located. Compare that to a $10-15/mo. subscription service and the case for library listening practically makes itself. As if that weren’t great enough, third party services like Overdrive and Hoopla have taken things to the next level.

Overdrive and Hoopla are awesome FREE apps that let you access audiobooks (as well as e-books & more) from your local library on your mobile device or computer. No need to worry with the return dates or even step foot in a physical library at all (unless you really want to!).

If your library is signed up with Overdrive or Hoopla, you’ll have access to their audiobook selection right at your fingertips. These audiobooks can be downloaded to your computer or mobile device and will be automatically returned after your “borrowing” period is up. Adios, late fees!

Want to give it a try? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A library that uses Overdrive or Hoopla
  • A current library card
  • The Overdrive/Hoopla app

Go ahead and pop over to Overdrive.com and Hoopla.com to see if your local library uses their services. If they do, awesome! If not, then chin up because today’s Tuesday Listening Tip is aimed specifically at listeners whose local libraries are not connected with a third party service or those whose libraries have a small audio selection.

Tip: You can get a library card from a larger library and use it to access their content on Overdrive or Hoopla. The next time you go to an area with a really great library or somewhere that has a joint library system, apply to get a library card from there.

Joint library systems are common in metropolitan areas. For example, all of the libraries in a particular area may be connected under one library system and having a card from one of them could grant you access to audiobooks from all of the libraries in that system.

If you are not a resident of that area, you may have to pay a slightly higher annual fee to get a card, but it should still be worth it. I recommend calling the library in advance to find out about their fee for non-residents and what you will have to provide at registration. Some form of ID will most likely be required and they may want to see proof of residence (a piece of mail will usually do), but that last bit may only be required for area residents. Again, it is best to find out directly from them before hand, as this could vary by location.

With your new “Super” library card, you’ll be able to get loads more out of Overdrive or Hoopla. Certainly more than someone without knowledge of this listening tip (someone who obviously doesn’t read The Audiobookworm!). If you’ve enjoyed this tip, please consider sharing this post with fellow audiobook* enthusiasts. Good karma and all that. ?

* This tip applies to book readers, as well!

Any librarians or library lovers want to chime in?



  1. My library card is $70/year (it just went up from $63 and some in my are are much more – I had to shop around!) but I can borrow books from over 500 libraries and of course there are audiobooks and ebooks too. It wouldn’t be worth it for just the books in the one library though. Their YA section is small and I’ve read most of the books of interest there. I don’t think I’ve borrowed any audiobooks yet but I have checked out a few ebooks. I’ll get to audiobooks when I catch up with the podcasts I listen to!

    1. jesstheaudiobookworm

      That’s the most expensive library fee I’ve heard of, but it sounds more than worth it. And it’s still less than an annual audiobook subscription would cost. Good deal, Jenna!

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