By: Michael Hawkins, Electronic Resources Librarian with Sno-Isle Libraries.

Ed. Note: Sno-Isle Libraries recently completed a community reading program called Whidbey Reads, a large scale book club. This year they implemented a digital aspect using their OverDrive collection for the first time. What follows is how Sno-Isle set up their program with OverDrive and the results they saw. If you’re interested in creating a digital community reading program contact your Collection Development Specialist.

Whidbey Reads has brought residents together to read and talk about a book annually since 2003, however this is the first year Sno-Isle Libraries incorporated OverDrive eBooks and audiobooks into the program. On a visit to one of our island branches, I spotted a flyer advertising the upcoming Whidbey Reads program and the availability of HarperCollins’ The Wind Is Not a River print copies. I immediately tracked down program organizer Kathy Bullene to discuss the possibility of negotiating no-wait eBooks and audiobooks access and she was just as excited as I was about the opportunity.

We promoted our simultaneous access to the title on social media and in every newsletter, blog post, and press release about the program, including two visits from author Brian Payton. We embedded OverDrive Readboxes for both formats on our Whidbey Reads landing page so that our customers could get an easy and immediate preview of the title. We also featured The Wind Is Not a River at the top of our OverDrive site for the duration of the program and created a curated list of past Whidbey Reads titles to accompany it.

As an unofficial goal, I was shooting for a cost-per-circulation of less than $2.00. By the end of the two-month access period we had 2042 eBook and 458 audiobook checkouts of The Wind Is Not a River, or exactly $1.00 per circ! Based on this success we have forged ahead to support additional Sno-Isle programs, including securing no-wait access to Scholastic’s The Game of Love and Death for a future 16 in 16: Reading Resolutions theme.