Digipalooza, Part 2
The Second Session of Digipalooza is focused on Maximizing the Value of the “Virtual Branch” of your Library.
Deb Czarnik from Lee County Public Library (Florida) highlighted some important steps their library staff is taking with training for ebooks and the various formats. They have established a page on the Intranet for staff instructions regarding the various formats for downloading as well as writing articles for their staff newsletters, suggesting blogs for staff to read, and sending out monthly reports so the various branch librarians can track usage for themselves.
They also have a presence for ebooks at various public events such as the Southwest Florida Reading Festival and bringing the OverDrive Bookmobile to gatherings.
Public Promotion is enhanced through digital boards in the libraries, putting out press releases for the local papers on a regular basis, and appearing on television news shows to promote ebooks. Ebooks get prime real estate on their Library Web Page as well as the mobile site.
Billboard signs, bus stop banners help bring the local public into the library. They also make use of QR codes on front doors and self-check machines. They have them go directly to their download site. They are now working on e-newsletters to promote their ebook collection.
Christopher Baker from the Gwinnett County Public Library (Georgia) was the next speaker.
Gwinnett started with OverDrive in 2005 with WMA audio, Music and Video – and later added non-ficiton in 2008 and fiction in July in 2009. He readily admits he did it backwards !! There has been a 99% increase in circulation and requests in the past year alone.
GCPL is a popular materials collection library. They base their digital collection on the physical items already in the system, such as popular authors. They maintain a ration of 4:1 with a maximum of ten copies purchased. They initially purchase two copies of each ebook, which works very well for them. They use short bib records so that records appear in their catalog within 24 hours of purchase from OverDrive.
They offer ongoing training for staff and customers. At each library event, they have someone to talk about their downloadable collection. They find that most of their patrons had some sort of device that could be used with digital formats. The majority of their patrons continue to find the materials through their online catalog, so it’s especially necessary to keep it as current as possible. They also customize metadata to match the genres/subjects listed for traditional formats in the library.
Holly Carroll from Poudre River Public Library District (Colorado)
One of her first projects after coming to Poudre River two years ago was to get OverDrive in the library. They are in the process of catching up and building the collection in both audio and ebook format. Right now, 3% of circulation is in eformat.
They created a mobile app for their webpage and this dramatically increased usage of OverDrive. They worked with OverDrive to modify categories for easier browsing on OverDrive. They also created a bookmark with their QR code that linked directly to their app.
Staff & Public Fluency at Poudre River – Recently created a Digital Literacy Librarian position to lead training efforts for staff and public. They have purchased devices for staff to borrow, focusing mainly on the Nook. They are now buying Nooks for public loan. They partner with Colorado State University on an eBook study, mainly written for the staff but also accessed by the public. Holly recently had in article on e-content in the local paper and wrote an editiorial on DRM issues for the same paper.
They have certainly come quite a way in just under two years in promoting their digital collections!
Erika Reed – Marion County Public Library (West Virginia) – Joined Overdive in 2008 as a six member consortium – soon to be 10 members. They have formed a board composed on the directors from each of those member libraries. So much is happening so fast that they meet monthly. They are now reaching more people in West Virginia digitally than in traditional library settings. The demand on their e-collection now exceeds the demand for print version.
Lessons they learned so far:
Little dollars mean little collections and thus little circulation. They had to spend money to meet the demand and were scrambling to do so.
Patrons seem to “squat” on those first 100 bestsellers online.
Backlisting is important as is creating a fan base.
Identify staff that own a device and get them to train others. This ties into marketing as well.
Continuing education for staff involves training, reading blogs and journals – and even hanging out at Target, B&N and Walmart.
They meet regularly to discuss current issues on marketing and technology needs.
Kimberly Edson – Rochester Public Library (Minnesota) Home of Mayo Clinic1
Everything at RPL driven by mission and where it fits into their strategic plan. OverDrive was added in 2005, thanks to a foundation gift. One of their main reasons for choosing OverDrive is that it offered e-books. Budget for this is now part of their regular budget.
They found it very important to identify key staff and clarify rolls for this collection, including collection selectors, public relations, public training. They also buy devices for staff to play with on staff.
Downloadable tab reveals an entire page dedicated to explaining the collection and easy links.
Training the Patrons – by classes and by providing download stations. They made the decision at Rochester to purchase MP3 players to circulate for patrons and make use of the download stations rather than purchase Playaways. Right now they don’t plan to circulate e-readers.
Telling Your Story to Your Funders – They send a monthly report of circulation stats from OverDrive to show how funds are being used. Show the worth of your digital collection to local politicians.