Personal Technology

Check library books availability while browsing!

The Library Extension for Chrome lets you see instantly if a book or e-book is available from your local library. Perfect utility for anyone who wants to read more while buying fewer books!

If one of your new year’s resolutions was to read more (or borrow more library books than you buy at Amazon), have I got the tool for you!

The Library Extension for Chrome (Firefox is in development) lets you see instantly if a book or e-book is available from your local library.

After you install the extension, you’ll need to add one or more libraries to the tool. Then, when you look at a book on sites like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Goodreads, within the seconds the extension will provide information on availability.

Currently the tool supports 4,000 libraries and library systems. For ebook readers, the tool provides results only from Overdrive and select 3M Digital Books digital collections. Because the tool relies on Overdrive’s search engine, the matches may not be exact. (Regular Overdrive customers will be nodding their heads.)

Getting started

1. Head over to the Chrome Extensions web store and select “Add to Chrome.”

library extension chrome store


2. Select “Add extension.” Don’t panic when you read the (incomplete) alert. The only way that the extension will be able to provide feedback is if it can “rewrite” the Amazon, B&N or Goodreads page to show you book availability.

library extension warning


3. Configure the extension, so that it knows your local libraries. Look for the book icon in the Chrome extensions bar (upper right in the browser, to the right of the URL field and to the left of the settings icon) or use the menu to manage extensions (Window > Extensions).

library extension installed

manage chrome extensions


4. Adding a library is straightforward.

  1. Choose your state. (These instructions are for United States residents; change the country if the tool does not employ any geolocation intelligence.)
  2. Then start typing your library name.
  3. Select the library from the dropdown menu.
  4. Click the green + button.


5. By default, the extension will look for both paper books and ebooks. If you’re only interested in ebooks, deselect the book checkmark. No need to click “save” – the extension automatically saves your choice.

library extension- library added


6. If you have a library card or check out privileges at multiple libraries, keep adding!

library extension - multiple libraries


Using the Library Extension at Amazon

By default, the extension is running searches. When you look at a book on Amazon, after a few seconds the tool will provide information about availability.

library extension on amazon


To place a hold, select that option. The tool will launch the Overdrive page for that library. With any luck, you’ll get an exact match.

library extension - overdrive spl


To place a hold (or check out a book), you will need to be logged in to Overdrive.

library extension - successful hold



Using the Library Extension at Barnes and Noble

The extension also works in real-time for Barnes and Noble. (But sometimes 99-cents is too good to pass up!)

library extension at barnes and noble



Using the Library Extension at Goodreads

Finally, the extension works in real-time for Goodreads, as well.

library extension at goodreads


So there you have it. One of the most useful utilities that an avid reader could add to Chrome.

Happy borrowing!


By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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