Strengthen the foundation: Insights from Collection Development Analysts



OverDrive’s own Collection Development Analyst, Kristin Milks, opened our afternoon sessions by going through some great tips and tricks for navigating OverDrive Marketplace to quickly find any and all of the content available. These are great for saving your collection development analysts time when their adding new content.


Holly Varley from the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County spoke next about how they budget for their collection to meet the demand of their users. Instead of simply dividing their budget by 12 for each year they increase their budget each month to meet the growing use of their OverDrive materials. She also mentioned how their staff takes advantage of the pre-pub access of OverDrive Marketplace titles to help drum up excitement and get the titles their patrons frequently want to read faster.


Hélène Golden from Southern Ontario Library Service came up next discussing purchasing on behalf of a consortium. She manages the collection development of an entire consortium by making sure that they use OverDrive’s automated features including metered alerts, holds manager, recommend to library and curated lists. She also mentioned that weeding their large collection is essential to keep up the ability to enable their patrons to find materials.


Jeriann Thacker of Phoenix Public Library finished the session by sharing how Greater Phoenix emphasizes their budget on special collections for community language speakers and ESL readers as well. They also stress the importance of using OverDrive’s Recommend To Library (RTL) tool as part of their patron driven acquisition efforts. An important part of this is promoting the RTL feature as often as possible. They use RTL to replace their inter library loan (ILL) program. On average this take three says using RTL as opposed to six weeks for the ILL program. The session ended with a spirited Q&A that provided valuable feedback including the importance of the power of the reporting available in OverDrive Marketplace.


Readers’ Advisory: Connecting users with books and authors



Cindy Orr began our Readers’ Advisory (RA) panel by discussing the importance of RA by stating that 84% of users believe that it is essential. The more often you refresh your collection and change your displays the more your circulation will grow. Maria Cipriano from Toronto Public Library took the stage next to discuss the art of curation and merchandising content.


In 2013 Toronto had a circulation of 1.5 million eBooks through OverDrive and this year they are on target to hit 3 million downloads thanks in large part to their tireless marketing efforts from everywhere to their malls to their train stations to universities and word of mouth. Merchandising is essential because provides the ability of readers advisory and engage with your customers. And don’t forget about curated collections. They are prime real estate to promote your titles. Maria also shared some of Toronto’s curated collections that are frequented often by their users.


Rachel Kray, a Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive, next presented on how OverDrive can assist with RA including our suggested and recommended lists which can be found on our Partner Portal. These are great time savers and help provide high circ’ing options for your users. The OverDrive Collection Development team also provides monthly eHighlights catalogs to let you see the hottest titles coming out. Rachel showed powerful stats as well on the importance of curating collections. Libraries using curated collections are seeing 100%+ increases in circulation of those titles.


Robin Nesbit from Columbus Metro rounded out our RA panel by sharing the history, successes and future of the wonderful LibraryReads program. LibraryReads increases library relevance with publishers and helps launch great authors and their books. Using LibraryReads in the library is great for building displays as well as on social media and for book clubs. Robin then excitedly shared her favorite titles that are coming out soon that we can’t wait to check out.


Take your digital library from ordinary to extraordinary


Our final session of the day was a series of lightning talks. Each library speaker got five minutes and one powerpoint slide (!!) to share their creative ideas on how they’re bringing in new users and keeping their existing users engaged. We saw wonderful presentations on reaching out to users of all ages and how to help get them started by using creative how to guides.


There were also slides showing off libraries engaging with patrons at community events as well as with local schools. Some libraries also used earned media to get local news coverage. Our first school librarian, Jenn Peterson, from Menasha Joint School District gives OverDrive accounts to every staff member so they all have the ability to talk about their eBook collection. For schools it’s very important to stress summer reading availability not just for the students but for staff as well because they finally have time.


Other librarians discussed how they made sure not only to train their users but especially their staff so they could talk up the digital library to patrons. Many also took advantage of the OverDrive Challenge as a way to motivate new checkouts and OverDrive APIs to conveniently provide users their titles. 


The panel had tons of wonderful ideas and if you’d like help you can always reach out to your Account Specialist. We’re happy to assist. Now it’s off to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for a night of dancing and fun!