Looking back on ALA Midwinter
By Adam Sockel, OverDrive’s Social Media Specialist
This past weekend Team OverDrive had the privilege of joining many of our library partners in Boston for the annual midwinter American Library Association conference. The weekend was full of productive meetings and presentations as well as countless interactions with librarians from around the country who were excited to see what’s coming next from OverDrive and, in general, talk about books!
The main thing I take away from every library conference I attend is the passion that librarians have for both their jobs and the belief in the importance in providing access to reading materials to their users. It’s refreshing to see that drive and excitement in person. OverDrive’s theme for ALA (and 2016 as a whole) is “Create Reading Happiness” and the hundreds of librarians we met with agreed that this is the most important concept for the library. At the end of the day what matters most is getting people reading, regardless of how they do it.
That is why we’ve continued to improve our websites, apps and products. OverDrive has developed tools to help libraries serve entire communities and enhance the user experience. The new OverDrive, which is being rolled out to libraries currently, is designed to make the first time user experience faster and easier than ever. That way, if a patron can’t ever make it to the physical branches they can still have the library with them anytime, anywhere. If someone prefers to read newspapers or magazines or listen to audiobooks we think those should be simple to use and easily located on one site for them. If you can’t download a book then you should be able to enjoy it online in your browser, which has never been easier thanks to OverDrive Read and Listen. We also demo’d the new OverDrive Insights and Dashboard available to our libraries. These reporting tools make it quick and easy to see trends and data on your collection so you can make more informed purchasing decisions.
Growing readers who are still learning to read should be able to enjoy the library as well which is why we offer thousands of Read-Along eBooks featuring popular characters from places like Nickelodeon, Star Wars, Marvel and Disney. The library should be able to instill a lifelong love of books, digital AND physical, and Read-Along eBooks are designed to do just that.
Our mission is to inspire a world of readers. We believe in reading. Access to content that will excite and educate users is the most important thing we work with libraries to provide. Our mission is to create happiness through the power of reading and it came as no surprise that, at ALA, librarians felt the same way.