No Library Card? No Problem

Early In 2016, Harris County Public Library set about to prove that once readers saw just how easy downloading ebooks and audiobooks can be, even some of the most diehard print book partisans see that ebooks have a place in one's reading arsenal. After a lot of grassroots and online promotion, HCPL became the first library in the state of Texas to circulate one million ebooks in a calendar year.

Convenience is the Key

Harris County Public Library and digital content provider Overdrive are taking convenience a step further for those who still might be unaware of the library’s ever-growing digital catalog of ebooks, audiobooks, and streaming video.

You can now browse and borrow from Harris County Public Library’s digital collection using your mobile device even if you do not currently have a library card. You will be prompted to sign up for an instant digital card using your cell phone number.

“Most of our regular patrons know about our great digital media collection. Our circulation numbers bear that out,” says Amber Seely, Harris County Public Library Collection Development Division Director, “We hope that the new Overdrive Instant Digital Card will help more casual library users to discover and take advantage of our huge selection of free ebooks and audiobooks.”

How It Works:

  1. Download the Overdrive’s Libby app (both available free in the App Store and Google Play), or visit
  2. If you do not currently have a valid HCPL library card, you will enter your mobile phone number.
  3. The phone number and associated zip code will be checked to see if you reside within the service area.
  4. Once your information is verified, you will receive a confirmation message.
  5. Start browsing, borrowing, and reading!
  6. Don’t stop there! Explore HCPL’s online resources! The Overdrive Instant Digital Card lets you use all of Harris County Public Library online content including digital magazines on Flipster and a vast array of research tools and databases like Medline PlusMorningstar and LearningExpress Library.

This blog was written by Nancy H. and first appeared September 2019.