Lack of materials, technology gaps high on list


Cleveland, OH – December 11, 2007 – Finding ways to increase student reading is a critical challenge, and several barriers exist, according to a recent survey.  Many of the barriers, however, can be effectively addressed, says OverDrive (, a leading provider of digital media services and survey sponsor.

The survey of more than 100 K-12 school media specialists, teachers, and librarians from across the U.S. identified barriers to reading, as well as technologies that are used to promote reading among students. Availability and variety of books, limited school library hours, and lack of specialized materials were the most common barriers, according to the survey. The survey did indicate that schools are frequently using technology to promote reading, but there appear to be opportunities to increase usage and to utilize recent innovations.

“Reading is the foundation of education, but creating successful readers appears to hinge on overcoming issues like book availability and increasing the use of technology,” said David Burleigh, director of marketing for OverDrive. “By more effectively utilizing the technology that kids love, such as the omnipresent MP3 player, we can get students to read like they haven’t in years.”

OverDrive, a leader in providing download eBooks and audio books to public libraries and retailers, as well as K-12 schools via School Download Library, conducted the survey in October 2007 at the American Association of School Libraries and the Ohio Educational Library Media Association conferences and uncovered these key results:


  • More than 40 percent of those surveyed report that a major barrier to reading is that popular print books were unavailable or damaged.
  • Nearly 20 percent of those surveyed cited a lack of library hours (or a library doesn’t exist).
  • More than ¼ of respondents cited a lack of materials specifically designed for readers of different skill levels (gifted, learning-disabled, reluctant, ESL).
  • Other concerns included budget constraints, busy students and general lack of interest.

Technology Used to Encourage Reading

  • Nearly 25 percent of respondents noted that they were not using computers and the Internet to promote reading.
  • Less than ¼ said they were using the popular MP3 player technology to encourage reading.
  • Nearly 50 percent said they were not using CDs or audio tapes in the classroom.
  • More than 1/3 of respondents said they used Smartboards.

OverDrive School Download Library, an eBook and audio book download service for K-12 school libraries, helps schools overcome some of the biggest barriers to reading. The first-of-its-kind service provides K-12 schools with easy access to more than 600 popular and curriculum-based downloadable audio book and eBook titles, most of which are always available for simultaneous use. Students can take the digital titles anywhere on popular mobile devices like compatible MP3 players, Smartphones or laptop computers. School Download Library gives students 24/7 access to audio books and eBooks in a variety of subjects that can improve their language skills and create eager readers.

OverDrive will continue surveying educators to uncover ways to increase student reading and to improve School Download Library’s potential impact on students. For more information on how schools can motivate young readers with School Download Library, visit


About OverDrive, Inc.

OverDrive is a leader in providing world-class infrastructure for downloading premium digital content. We deliver secure management, protection, and download services for hundreds of publishers and thousands of libraries, schools, retailers, and distributors serving millions of end users. Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in Cleveland, OH.


Dan Stasiewski

OverDrive, Inc.

216-573-6886 x220