Digital Services: Frequently Asked Questions

Prefer to talk to a person about getting started? Email us at info@fordlibrary.org and a staff member will respond to you as soon as possible. Read on for some of the most frequently asked questions about our digital services, or visit our Download & Stream page for a list of what’s available.

Can I read library books on my device?

Yes!  The library has multiple ebook services. Each has their own unique collection and apps available for mobile devices. Learn more on our eBook page.

Can I watch movies or download music too?

Absolutely. You can find movies on Kanopy, Media On Demand and Hoopla, and Hoopla has a great selection of music that you can stream or download.

What do I need in order to use your download services?

Most of our services require your Library Card to either log in or sign up for an account. You may also need your SWAN PIN.

I don’t have a SWAN PIN.  Or do I?

Everyone gets a PIN with a library card. You may change your PIN if you’d like by logging in to your account and clicking “Change PIN” under the “Personal Information” tab. You may also be able to reset your PIN if you have an email associated with your library card. If you do not know your PIN, call us at (708) 246-0520 to have a staff member check and/or change your PIN.

What if I don’t remember my card number?

You can have your library card number sent to your email address on file by visiting the Forgot Library Card page on the SWAN libraries website. If you don’t have an email address on file or you don’t receive the email, please contact us at info@fordlibrary.org for more assistance.

Can I use my device?

Probably! Media on Demand supports most iOS, Kindle, and Android devices. Read more about supported devices and formats.

eRead Illinois is not available on regular Kindles, but can be used on Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD in addition to Android and iOS devices. If you don’t have a device, you can still use both of our services on your PC or Mac.

Hoopla, Flipster, Kanopy, and Tumblebooks can be used on just about any computer or mobile device that is capable of accessing the internet, and the first two both have apps available in your device’s app store.

To try any of these services and get links to their apps, visit our Download & Stream page and click on the type of media you want to use.

How do I get ebooks on my Kindle?

You can either use the Libby app, or the Media on Demand website (www.mediaondemand.org) on a computer to browse and checkout your books. After checkout, go to your Loans. In Libby, you would click on “Shelf,” find the book you would like on your Kindle, and choose “Read With” to choose the Kindle format.  On the Media on Demand website you click on “My Account,” then “Loans,” and then “Read Now with Kindle.”

In both cases you will be taken to Amazon’s website. If you aren’t already logged in, Amazon will require you to do so at this time. Then click “Get Library Book” and choose the device where you want it delivered. The book will be downloaded over Wifi to that device.

What about a Kindle Fire?

You may find some of our digital services’ apps in the Amazon app store. Simply search by the name of the app. If you don’t see it, you may need to disable apps from unknown sources and find an APK file for the app.

An APK file is an Android Package Kit file, and it’s used to install apps on Android devices. You can search online for “Libby app APK” and find a source, but only download the file from a source you trust. These files can also be used to install malicious software on your device, which is why the option to install from unknown sources is generally turned off.

If you decide you want to take that risk, you can disable this option through the following steps:

  • Go to Settings > Security (or Applications) > Enable Apps from Unknown Sources (this will prompt a warning message—that’s normal).
  • Find an APK file for the app you want and download it. Choose “Open” and then “Install.”
  • When finished, be sure to go back to the first step and disable the setting “Enable Apps from Unknown Sources.”
I found a book in the SWAN online catalog, but I wasn’t able to download it. What happened?

It could be that you weren’t logged in to your account. You need to be logged in to download ebooks found in the online catalog. It could also be that the book is not available to Thomas Ford cardholders. There are other ebook buying groups that use the SWAN catalog, and you only have access to items available through Media on Demand. Generally we recommend you either limit your search to the Thomas Ford library in the drop down menu to the left of the search bar, or search for the title directly in the app you’d like to use (Libby, Hoopla, Axis360).

Why can’t I find a particular author or title?

Our eBook collections are growing all the time, and the way eBook publishers are working with libraries is changing. Some publishers and authors have restricted their works and will not allow them to be available digitally through libraries, in which case we are not be able to add these books to the collection. Others have restrictions that prevent us from offering books within a certain time period after publication. In that case the book will not become available until that embargo period is over.

I want an e-reader but I don’t know which one. What does the library recommend?

It really depends on what you want out of your e-reader. Do you want a tablet that can do more than just books? Do you want a device exclusively for reading with a screen that’s more comfortable for your eyes? Do you tend to use a particular brand of products already, and want to keep all of your technology linked? Luckily there’s a tablet or e-reader available for your needs. See our resources below for help deciding what’s right for you.

PC Magazine
Best eReaders for 2020
Best Tablets for 2020

AARP
Pros and Cons of tablets and e-readers

Consumer Reports
eBook Reader Buying Guide

Tablet or e-reader? 12 questions to help you decide

Where can I find free eBooks?

ManyBooks Over 29,000 free titles.

Project Gutenberg Over 45,000 free titles.

Open Library Over 1 million free titles.

Feedbooks A place to discover and publish eBooks.

My question isn’t here. What should I do?

Let us know! You can email us at info@fordlibrary.org for help from a staff member.