Librarian’s Share: boosting circulation through Featured Titles
By Theresa Tittle, a Librarian and Selector for the Pioneer Library System in Oklahoma.
Ed. note: Pioneer Library System has recently started featuring different titles prominently on their OverDrive-powered website and are seeing a nice circulation boost because of this. We interviewed one of their librarians, Theresa Tittle, to see where the idea came from and the process they’ve been using to see success. If you’re interested in having a featured title on your digital library page simply contact your OverDrive Account Specialist!
Where did the idea for the Featured Selection come from?
Our OverDrive Collection Specialist, Fritz was actually the first to bring it up during a visit he made to our library. I also participated in the OverDrive curated list webinar which discussed the many opportunities to market our collection. Both the curated lists and Featured titles sounded like great ideas to market titles that had dropped from sight in the collection and titles patrons may not know they were looking for or that we had.
How do you decide which titles to feature?
Initially our OverDrive Account Specialist, Jim Monastra, provided us great ideas to consider when developing our list of titles to post – popular titles, with multiple copies, not currently checked out or with holds. We remain flexible in what we highlight each week. We have featured multiple fiction genres as well as nonfiction, and eBook and audiobook formats. As yet, we have not had a single title that hasn’t checked out at least once, and most end up checked out and with a few holds.
I have started themed Feature weeks such as all “Columbus” related titles during the Columbus holiday week. Audiobooks seem very popular so this coming week four of the five titles are audiobooks. I plan to feature appropriate titles during the Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving weeks. And as we get closer I will start rotating through the Featured Title our December holiday reads.
How often do you swap out the titles?
We originally had Jim change the Featured Title on Mon-Wed and Fri (which stayed featured through Sunday) which give rise to a few concerns. Leaving one title up for 2-3 days resulted in a high number of holds being put on a title – a great problem to have but our library has a policy that directs we purchase more copies if the number of holds exceeds the prescribed ratio.
Several times we came close and once we even exceeded our ratio limit requiring us to buy more copies of the title. In addition, we typically don’t order multiple copies of the same title, instead we purchase one copy of a wider variety of titles. Because of this buying strategy we quickly became aware that it would not be long before we would run out of titles that we own with 5,6,7 or more copies.
In light of these concerns we switched to rotating the Featured Title daily Mon-Thurs, and posting one Featured Title Fri – Sun. This change increased the pool from which we could choose our Featured Titles, increased the number of titles we could feature each week, reduced the number of holds on an individual title, and reduced the patron’s wait time for their hold.
Can you explain the process in getting these featured titles up on the site?
Jim makes the Featured Title process easy! I just send him the titles we want featured and he does the rest.
What have the results been like?
Our initial postings resulted in double digit checkouts, with an audiobook of Stephen King’s A Good Marriage being checked out or put on hold for forty patrons over one weekend. Since moving to a more frequent title change, the books continue to circulate but at a more moderate pace.