Pioneer Library System combines innovative ways to access physical and digital content
The Pioneer Library System (PLS) in Central Oklahoma made headlines when it became the first library in North America to install the EnvisionWare 24-Hour Library, an automated outdoor kiosk that dispenses books, audiobooks and DVDs to patrons at any time.
True to their innovative spirit, the PLS staff wasn’t satisfied with providing their community with groundbreaking technology for borrowing just physical materials. So in early June, PLS integrated onto their two EnvisionWare vending machines the OverDrive Media Station (OMS), a touchscreen that allows patrons to browse the library’s OverDrive digital collection and send titles to their preferred devices for borrowing.
“This is a library that’s changing with the times, and we’re really looking to be that store that’s always open, so to speak,” PLS Assistant Director Lisa Wells said.
Located on the east and west sides of Norman, OK, PLS’ EnvisionWare-OMS systems are situated on the campus of a middle school and outside a new library branch, respectively. PLS Visual Library Coordinator Adriana Edwards-Johnson said the OMS component has served as a “great introduction” to PLS’ OverDrive digital collection. After browsing the collection and making selections, patrons are taking advantage of the systems’ secure WiFi connection to safely borrow digital titles with their devices, she said.
“People just love it. They love having that ease of access,” she said.
The OMS’ popularity is reflected by PLS’ digital circulation numbers. Since June, the month OMS was integrated onto the vending machines, the library has averaged 2,400 more monthly checkouts than its previous record.
More patrons are using PLS’ digital services, too. From June-November, the library exceeded its previous monthly record for patrons with a digital checkout by an average of almost 500.
“This is a great example of how OverDrive is developing products and working with partners to bring a library’s OverDrive collection to more people in more places,” said Clay White, OverDrive Product Owner.
In recognition of its leveraging of emerging technology to better serve the community, PLS was a finalist in local news organization The Journal Record’s “Innovator of the Year” awards. Wells said she appreciates OverDrive’s support in moving PLS’ vision for a “one-stop-shop” for library services forward.
“I think our customers are the real winners when we’re able to pull together two great resources at one location,” she said.
Brian Byrne is a Marketing Communications Specialist at OverDrive.