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Accessing TPL eBooks and Audiobooks on your Blackberry Playbook

February 24, 2012 | Niall | Comments (11)

Update (August 21, 2014): OverDrive is no longer supporting their app for the Blackberry Playbook.

The recently released BlackBerry OverDrive Mobile App and new OS (2.0) for Blackberry Playbook allows users to access ebooks and audiobooks through their device.   Some have experienced difficulties getting this app to work properly so we’ve compiled some instructions to help users. Try following these steps to get ebooks working on your BlackBerry Playbook.

OverDrive Mobile App for BlackBerry Playbook

Download OS 2

  • Tap "Settings" on your Playbook (upper right hand corner)
  • Select "Software Updates"
  • Tap "Check for Updates"  and download the new operating system

Get the OverDrive App

  • Tap on the "App World" icon on the Playbook
  • Enter “Overdrive Media Console” in the search box
  • On the results page, select OverDrive’s mobile app
  • Tap “Download” to install the app
  • When the download completes, open it and select “Yes” to grant trusted application status

Authorize Your Device.

  • Open the OverDrive mobile app already installed on your Blackberry Playbook
  • Swipe down from the top of the screen to see the options menu for the app
  • Select "App Settings"
  • Scroll down the App Settings screen until you see where to enter your Adobe ID and password and tap “Authorize”
  • If you do not have an Adobe ID, tap the button to obtain a free ID and fill out the form on the Adobe website

Add TPL to your Library List

  • Open OverDrive’s mobile app on your BlackBerry Playbook
  • Swipe down from the top of the screen to see the options menu for the app
  • Select "Get Books"
  • Tap "Add a Library" and enter “Toronto Public Library” in the search box and tap “Search” 
  • Select any TPL branch displayed in the results
  • Tap the star next to the library name to add it to your library list
  • Tap the library name to visit TPL’s mobile OverDrive site

Download Ebooks

  • From the TPL mobile OverDrive site, use the buttons at the top of the screen to Browse or Search for Adobe EPUB ebooks or MP3 audiobooks
  • Check the box to show only available titles
  • Once you’ve found a title, tap “Add to Cart”
  • When you’re ready to checkout, tap “Proceed to Checkout” from within your cart
  • Log in with your library card number and PIN when prompted
  • Tap “Confirm Checkout”
  • Tap “Download” beneath the title in your OverDrive bookshelf
  • The title will download to your Playbook and open, ready for you to enjoy!


Managing your eBook holds

November 17, 2011 | Niall | Comments (4)

Is your eBook or eAudiobook not available? Place it on hold.

Sometimes it is case that you find no available titles of the digital materials you seek. Due to publisher’s restrictions, the library may lend out only a limited number of copies of digital materials, just as if they were print materials.

However, like printed materials, you may place items ‘on hold’ so that you may check them out once they become available.

How do I place items on hold?

When viewing a particular item in Overdrive you will see how many available copies exist.  When 0 copies are available you’ll also see how many patrons are currently on the waiting list.

  Placing Holds on eBooks in Overdrive

Use the ‘Place a Hold’ button to add your name to the waiting list.  You’ll be prompted to log in with your library card number and pin if you haven’t already. You’ll also be asked to confirm your email address.

What happens when I place an item on hold?

A title you place on hold will be reserved for you to check out once it becomes available. You can place up to 10 titles on hold at a time. When the title is available for you, we will email you instructions on checking the item out.

The item will be held for you for 4 days after we email you.

How can I view my holds?

Log in to the Overdrive home page
Click the Account tab – if you aren’t logged in already, you’ll be prompted to log in with your library card number and pin.  
Click the 'My Holds' link. 

Reviewing your holds in Overdrive

The titles that you have currently placed on hold are displayed.

How can I check out my holds?

If you have received a notification that your holds that are available they will have an 'Add to Cart' option at the very right of them, while unavailable holds will have the 'Remove | Edit' options. Select 'Add to cart'

You will be directed to your cart, and your hold will no longer be in the Holds section but will be transferred to your cart.   Items in your cart have a 30 minute time limit to check out.

   Checking Out/Downloading eBooks

 Click 'Proceed to checkout', then select a loan option from the pull-down menu: 7, 14, or 21 days.  When you have selected your loan period, click  'Confirm Check Out'.
Checking Out/Downloading Process for eBookss Overdrive

A download link appears allowing you to download it to your computer. There is no need to immediately download it.  The item is kept in your Bookshelf under the 'Account' section, and will be available for download during the lending period.

How can I cancel my holds?

When you are viewing your Holds in the Account section, items still unavailable will have a ‘Remove| Edit’ link next to them.  Select ‘Remove’ to cancel the hold on the item.

  Cancelling Holds on eBooks Overdrive


The new beta testing and feedback so far

February 17, 2010 | TPL Staff | Comments (9)

Thanks to everyone who has provided feedback so far on the beta version of the new Toronto Public Library website.

(If you haven’t done so yet, take a look at the beta website now and tell us what you think.)

A few of you have commented that the beta site seems slow. This is a concern for us too, and we have been putting considerable effort into improving performance. We are now caching site components wherever it makes sense, and we have also upgraded our servers. We’ve been doing regular load testing to get a sense of how the site will perform once it’s released to our full user base.

You have also told us that you want to stay logged in longer without having your session automatically time out. Addressing this issue is a challenge for us because it involves the underlying library catalogue system, not just the website itself. We do plan to extend the session duration. In the longer term, our goal is to add a “remember me” function so you can choose to stay logged in on your home computer, but this will probably not be available until sometime after the launch of the new site.

We think we have successfully addressed a number of other issues you identified, including style problems on the account pages and unsatisfactory results from advanced search. We’re especially grateful to those of you who posted screen shots and provided detailed step-by-step explanations of an issue.

Many thanks for all your help so far, and please keep the comments coming!

Why did my holds position change?

October 19, 2009 | Alan H. | Comments (0)

Short answer: it really didn't and you won't receive your held titles any faster or slower.  We're sorry for any confusion this caused.  This was a data display issue that was recently resolved.

Longer answer: You may have noticed in the past that sometimes your holds queue position in the Your Account section didn't agree with the total number of holds in the full display of the title.  Your Account might claim your were "1685 of 1700" for a book that had 2200 total holds according to its catalogue record.

We implemented a change for this data display bug overnight that took effect on Saturday morning (the 17th of October).  As a result it may seem that you've moved further down the holds queue (this is most evident for titles that had hundreds or thousands of holds).  This isn't actually the case--the Your Account interface was displaying an incorrect total number of holds (and therefore an incorrect position in line) in cases where the number of holds did not match between Your Account and the total holds displayed for a title on its catalogue record.  Your Account is now displaying the number of holds and your position in line properly, resulting in some changed numbers.

We apologize for any confusion caused by this and assure everyone that their position in line for any held titles hasn't changed--it's just represented accurately now through Your Account.

I Didn't Know You Had That... Part 2

March 31, 2009 | Alan H. | Comments (0)

Back In the Old Days...

Scanned Globe [& Mail] newspaper front page from the past (date unknown)
We made passing reference to them in the previous post in this series, but did you know you can get the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star going back to the 19th century from the Toronto Public Library website?  Both are available through a similar interface (you'll be asked for your library card number, so have it ready or get a library card if you don't yet have one--it's free).

Most online newspaper archives present articles in a web-based format that removes them from their original context (position above or below the fold, surrounding ads, etc), but these ones actually present searchable high-resolution scans of the original newspaper pages.  This means you can do things like see a copy of the front page of the newspaper for the day you or a family member were born, or admire the vintage ads surrounding the articles.  This format isn't as easy to browse as some others, but it's a lot closer to having a real copy of the newspaper (from back to 1844 for the Globe--how cool is that?) in front of you than a lot of other web-based resources of this sort.

Last Time On "I Didn't Know You Had That..."

This is an ongoing series highlighting interesting resources, features or other aspects of TPL's web services.  If you've missed previous parts:

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.

Toronto 2.0

January 31, 2009 | TPL Staff | Comments (6)

Toronto 2.0 Globe and Mail, Saturday, January 31, 2009I was thrilled to open up this morning's Globe and see an article about the City of Toronto and open data:  Toronto 2.0: Data Sharing Source.

A few weeks ago we created a post about opening up the Library's data because making our content accessible and mash-able is a priority for the Library.

Today's article talks about Toronto being a real leader in social computing uptake and also a innovator in civic engagement.  It specifically talks about Change Camp, which took place last weekend.  Change Camp's mandate: 

"How do we re-imagine government and citizenship 

in the age of participation?"

At the Library we imagine many possibilities.   Like you looking for a book from your mobile phone and then being able to get TTC, driving or walking directions to the nearest available copy.  We also imagine you browsing the internet and being able to see related Library resources and programming information.  We're not entirely there yet, but the willingness and the motivation is and the capabilities are definitely coming along.

The web team will be at Toronto's Mesh Conference again this year and are looking forward to a lively discussion about social computing and open data that meets civic needs.  So if you happen to also be attending, make sure you stop one of us for a chat.

It is an exciting time for us here at the Library and for all Torontonians!

Library tip for accessing news online: Do you ever get a "To continue reading, you will need to purchase this article." message from newspaper websites?  That message is your cue to go to the Library's website where you will able to find, read and print the full text of newspapers articles that are no longer available through the news company's website.  As always, it's free, with your Library card.

Opening up our data - after all, distributing information is what we do

December 3, 2008 | Dara Renton | Comments (7)

Come In, We're Open Sign The Toronto Public Library is working to open up its data for people to use. After all, distributing information is what we do. By enabling Torontonians to access and use the information that the library has, including its branch location information, program and event information and the content within our library catalogue, we truly embody the mandate of a public library.

What this means is anyone with the skills and inclination could list, display or integrate linkable TPL data into their website. 

Some useful examples might be a community group who wants to show the nearest libraries or upcoming library programs in their neighbourhoods on their website, a special interest group would be able to list relevant linkable content within our collections or an individual would be able to easily blog about a TPL item, event, service or branch.

So in that light, as a first step we have made it easier for people to take branch location information and map it for their own needs.

Use our stuff on your own site

If you're building a website about your community or local business, or just hacking around and want to show nearby Toronto Public Library branch locations in Google maps, you can use this data just like we did on our hours and locations page.

You can take the geocoding the library has used for our Google maps and use it on your site.

 Link to Toronto Public Library's branch Google maps data.

There is a really good tutorial, some handy Google documentation and a developer forum if you're looking to get started with Google maps.

This is our first "API"  and there is much more to come.  In addition to this, our blogs already enable content syndication through RSS.

We are working to open up other sources like our library catalogue and our programs and events listings. As we move forward, we are looking at ways make our site more modular and easier to integrate using mashups, semantic-markup, microformats, embeddable widgets, APIs, and further content syndication.

Book Cover for RESTful Web Services

(Warning, unapologetic Library service plug follows)

If you fully understood this post and found it relevant to your interests or profession, you'll be happy to know that you can get *every* O'Reilly book online through the library with your library card. Either search the library catalogue for the title or interest of your choice, or go straight to Safari Books Online by typing It's free with your library card.

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