OverDrive and Snap&Read—Millions of Free Digital Books Now Accessible

By Luke Trayser

Young girl working in the website OverDrive on her laptop

If access is an open door, accessibility is the design that leads people—regardless of age, physical impairment, or cognitive ability—through that door. And as a longstanding beacon of access, the public library often shows its community what accessibility should look like.


For both access and accessibility, OverDrive has been monumental. The ubiquitous online book checkout service, offered for free by public libraries and many schools, lets people borrow digital content like ebooks and audiobooks anytime and anywhere. Over 40,000 schools and libraries participate in OverDrive all over the world.


To start borrowing digitally, all you need is a library card or student ID. And for a righteous bonus perk, there are no late fees. When the due date hits, the title simply vanishes from your digital collection.


Now, there’s a bit of a catch: Digital doesn’t always mean accessible. The fact is, many students rely on accommodations to read, whether they’re at home or in the classroom. OverDrive alone doesn’t provide accessibility tools to cover the entire range of diverse needs of the population.


At least, it didn’t used to. But we have good news. Snap&Read, our effective and beloved reading tool, is now completely compatible with OverDrive and its Chrome Apps Libby and Sora. It’s the first text reader accessibility tool with full native integration, and it will bring a new level of accessibility to students who are ready to read.

Animation of Snap&Read working in OverDrive

What Snap&Read brings to OverDrive

Using Snap&Read with OverDrive gives students access to a set of tools that help them comprehend what they read. This includes:

  1. Read-aloud accommodations
  2. Reading/writing guides (KWL, SQ3R, Compare and Contrast, etc.)
  3. Study Tools including a sidebar with highlighters/notes
  4. Bibliographer (MLA/APA/Chicago)
  5. Text masking (to aid visual focus)
  6. Translation to over 100 languages
  7. Dynamic Text Leveling

The benefit of this new integration

As recently as a decade ago, finding content in accessible formats for students who needed accommodations was difficult, if not downright impossible. But with OverDrive and Snap&Read working together, not only is an incredible selection of books available for free through local libraries, but they’re more accessible than ever for students with reading challenges.


Snap&Read adds the tools that give students access to their full reading capabilities. What this means is they can comprehend better, pull out key information, organize it, and use it to write in Google Docs.

How to get started

It’s easy! Sign into your OverDrive digital library with your regular library card, select the books you want, and borrow them. Then, open the book in a browser window (through Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge) and turn on the Snap&Read Extension. You’re off and reading! All the Snap&Read features you’re accustomed to will be there.

You can sign in to OverDrive from your Library Website under Digital Libraries, or from https://www.overdrive.com/.

Screenshot of opening overdrive
Signing into OverDrive

The sign in button is easy to fine, and once you sign in you will get access to all the books OverDrive has to offer.

Signing in is simple, choose your library, and enter your library card and pin.

Logging into OverDrive with Library information
Opening books in Overdrive

Once you are signed in, choose a book and then click to open in browser.

Once you open the book in a browser, just turn on Snap&Read and all of the support tools are right there on the side bar.

Snap&Read working in browser

Books to get your student started

There are so many books available in OverDrive that it can be overwhelming at first. Here’s a list of classic and favorite options.

Elementary School:

Where the Sidewalk Ends

The Giving Tree

Charlotte’s Web

A Wrinkle in Time

Harry Potter (books 1-3)


Middle school: 

Bridge to Terabithia

Esperanza Rising

Out of My Mind

Brave New World

Harry Potter (books 4-7)



High school: 

I am Malala

To Kill a Mockingbird

Fahrenheit 451

The Great Gatsby

Romeo and Juliet

The Harry Potter series

Try it free right now!

We are beyond thrilled that OverDrive and Snap&Read are now working together, and we can’t wait for you to see for yourself how it all works.


OverDrive is free with a library card or student ID, and if you don’t already have Snap&Read access, you can start your free trial here. Both personal plans and school- or district-wide licenses are affordable, and it gives permanent access to a toolkit that helps students comprehend what they read, and even sparks a lasting passion for the written word.

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