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Returning eBooks and eAudiobooks

October 19, 2011 | Niall | Comments (7)

Book return

You’ve finally finished reading your latest eBook from TPL and want to make it available for other library users.  Or, you’ve reached your checkout limit and want to free up space for additional checkouts.

Many people are wondering, is it possible to return eBooks early? The answer is, absolutely!

If you are using Adobe Digital Editions on a Windows or Mac-based desktop computer, the icon for a title in your bookshelf view will have a small triangle (Item Options) at the top left of it, which when clicked will show a pull-down menu, including "Return Borrowed Item". Select this to return the item and have it removed from your bookshelf.

Click here for more detailed instruction on returning EPUB eBooks.  

Click here for more detailed instruction on returning PDF eBooks.

If you are using Sony Reader Library on a desktop computer, you can right-click the icon for the title and you will see the same "Return borrowed item" option in the menu.

If you are using the OverDrive Media Console app for iOS/Android/Windows Mobile/Blackberry, when you go to delete a title from your bookshelf, a menu will pop up that includes the option "Return & Delete" allowing you to return items early.  Click here for further instruction. 

Returning eAudiobooks

Due to publisher licensing agreements OverDrive eAudiobooks such as WMA or MP3 files cannot be returned early. They will be automatically returned to the library at the end of the lending period.

A note on lending periods

The lending period for eBooks is usually 21 days, but you can adjust this to 7 or 14 day periods when checking out materials in Overdrive.  Additionally, you can set personalized default lending period(s) on a format-by-format basis at the 'Lending Periods' page in your Overdrive Account. The mobile version of this site uses the default lending period you specify at the 'Lending Periods' page.


Web Team breaks awkward silence, launches website improvements

June 21, 2011 | TPL Staff | Comments (5)

Patient readers, we know we've been out of touch for a long time - pretty much ever since we launched the new website last August. What's been keeping us too busy to blog? For one thing, we've been listening to your feedback about the new site - many thanks to everyone who has posted on this blog or shared your comments through other channels. We've also had our hands full helping some of the many people who have started using the library's eBook services. (Did you get a shiny new eReader/tablet/smartphone over the holidays last year? We can tell.)


If, like Janet Jackson circa 1986, you're asking "What have you done for me lately?", we have some good news. We've been working on a few improvements to the website that are now available.

  • Dates when new DVDs will be available for placing holds: You asked for it, and here it is: new feature DVDs become holdable six months after the library acquires them, and now the record for each DVD includes the date when it will be available for holds.

No hold dvd date

  • Mega-menus for faster, easier navigation: We've introduced mega-menus to help you go directly to the section of the site you want. The menus include links to many of the most popular pages on the site.



  • Share an item by email: Found something great on the library website? Email it to a friend (or to yourself). The email will contain all the relevant details about the item. Books, movies, music, library branches, library programs/events - all can be shared quickly and easily via email.



Other things we've been working on include a project to integrate digitized books and images from the library's Special Collections into the website and a major application server migration.

And we haven't forgotten about some of the other things you've been asking for:

  • A “wish list” feature
  • Enhancements to search, including type-ahead
  • A mobile version of the site
  • An online purchase request form
  • Online fine payment

A project to improve Your Account features and accessibility is just getting underway.

Please keep your feedback coming - input from you helps us prioritize upcoming improvements.

I Didn't Know You Had That... Part 1

March 24, 2009 | Alan H. | Comments (4)

Book Cover Image - UXL Graphic Novelists Book Cover Image - Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia

The Disclaimer: Many of the links in this post will prompt you for your library card number and your PIN, so have your card ready (or your number memorized).  If you don't have a card it's easy and free to get one if you live, work, go to school or pay property tax in Toronto.

The Preamble (you can skip to The Good Stuff if you just want to see some cool web stuff TPL has available that you might not know about)

A challenge libraries face in providing web-based information is the extreme diversity of sources and the requirements to access them.  Along with the open web (the kind of thing you find with Google or another search engine) there is a huge range of subscription-only services that require payment to access and are not typically indexed by search engines because of this.  The library purchases group access to a wide range of these services, allowing you access from home to a wide range of content unavailable on the open web, using your library card.  This includes everything from newspaper archives (some going back to the 19th century) to auto repair manuals to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Ideally we would like a  (relatively speaking) uniform means of access to all our web content, similar to what we have for our books.  But the current common means of access to books is the result of hundreds of years of development of storage methods and well-established systems for organizing them on the shelf and providing topical access to them in catalogues.  The web is a much younger information source than books (and it can sometimes be hard to find the right book as well!).

So we work with tools that are better than nothing, but still not ideal, such as union searching (doing simple searches of multiple subscription sources from different vendors in one go and presenting the results in a single interface).  As the web matures and standards for accessing information from subscription-based sites become better-implemented among vendors, we are hopeful that we can purchase or build better tools for providing access.

The Good Stuff

This is a roundabout way of saying that TPL's website is a gateway to tons of great content that you can't find for free on the web, but it can be difficult sometimes to get the word out.  Safari Books Online has been mentioned on this blog previously, but we're going to be posting regularly in the future to highlight other resources available through the website that you may not be aware of.

The first we'd like to highlight is the Gale Virtual Reference Library.  Gale is a major reference book publisher and a substantial amount of their reference books (totaling hundreds of thousands of pages of content) are available to you as a TPL library card holder from anywhere that can access the web.

The front page of Gale Virtual Reference Library is a list of available categories of reference books (along with almost universal search box).  Clicking the + beside a category (Arts, Business, Technology, etc) will expand the category to show the individual reference works available.  There's a lot, but some notables are:

Business > Business Plans Handbook (Volumes 1-14 available).  An extensive collection of business plans used by small business entrepreneurs seeking funding.  Useful to students studying business and potential entrepreneurs.  A wide variety of plans for different business enterprises are compiled in the 14 volumes available so far.

Environment > Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia (17 volumes) and Grzimek's Student Animal Life Resource (21 volumes) are tremendous surveys of the animal kingdom (the Encyclopedia is nearly 10,000 pages).  The Student Animal Life Resource is more appropriate in level to the higher elementary grades compared to the Animal Life Encyclopedia (written for an older audience).  Great for school projects or for general interest.

Literature > UXL Graphic Novelists (3 volumes).  Over 600 pages in three volumes containing biographies of illustrators, comic book writers, manga authors, cartoonists and others in the broad field of the "graphic novel".  Fills a gap for students writing about graphic novelists or their works, and of browsing interest to readers of the genre.

This very small selection of the reference books available through just the Gale site is somewhere in the range of 20,000 pages of reference material!  There's a lot more there for all sorts of topics--have a look.  And this is only one site out of dozens that you have access to as a TPL cardholder--we'll be featuring more in the future on this blog.

Staff from the Toronto Public Library's eServices team talk about recent changes, future plans and ideas and issues you raise about the library's online and mobile services.

What the Web Team is reading on the web