In-school awareness can boost reading rates more than 100%
By: Kelly Hladek, Library Media Specialist and Technology Liaison, Morton High School.
The School City of Hammond, in Hammond, Indiana, is starting off 2017 on a celebratory note. In one year’s time, OverDrive checkouts for the district have grown 183 percent from 4,094 to 11,571! An OverDrive partner since December 2014, the district has worked steadily to increase student awareness of their digital library and boost reading rates and the efforts are paying off.
An ever-changing assortment of tabletop, shelf, window, and hallway displays—many of which incorporate convenient QR codes—gives OverDrive eBooks and audiobooks an interesting visible presence in schools. OverDrive links have been added to the district’s webpage as well as to individual schools’ web pages, enabling students to quickly access their digital library.
One school library blog, Govs Love Books, promotes not only new reading selections and collections available in OverDrive, but also OverDrive reading initiatives—such as the SUMMER READ program and International Read an eBook Day—and posts frequent reminders that OverDrive is open 24/7 even when school is not in session. Marketing OverDrive at Back-to-School nights and on school kiosks also helps increase visitors’ and parents’ awareness of OverDrive.
When promoting its digital library, the district takes advantage of digital and print resources, including web graphics, brochures, bookmarks, and posters, available in the OverDrive Resource Center. The resources, coupled with a little creativity, can result in engaging OverDrive marketing.
The School City of Hammond has added curated collections to its OverDrive homepage to spotlight specially themed or seasonal reading selections, including Teen Horror and Winter’s Tales to highlight Halloween and holiday reading, respectively; Banned Books to draw attention to the American Library Association’s annual focus on challenged or banned books; and the Next Indiana Bookshelf to celebrate Indiana’s Bicentennial in 2016. Changing the landing page on the district’s OverDrive website helps keep visits to the digital library timely and fresh.
One of the best ways to increase students’ individual use of OverDrive is to use the resource at school. In addition to the district’s marketing efforts, teachers at the elementary levels are incorporating OverDrive into their Response to Intervention programs. Students are also given opportunities at school to explore OverDrive and check out eBooks or audiobooks in their classrooms using Chromebooks or as part of their visits to their library media centers. This fall, a high school student Book Club read Marike Nijkamp’s This is Where it Ends, OverDrive’s Big Library Read for Oct. 13-27, 2016 in an eBook format.
In November, the School City of Hammond also added an OverDrive Teachers’ Lounge to its offerings. This collection features professional development resources that explore blended learning and integrating technology in the classroom and assist teachers with classroom management challenges. The lounge also highlights adult fiction for teachers and other district staff.
Showing takes telling to the next level! Any time teachers, library media specialists, or even other students demonstrate how easy it is to use OverDrive—either individually or in front of a class—is a plus.
Coming up in 2017
The School City of Hammond’s OverDrive ideas for 2017 so far include making tablets, which have been repurposed to function solely as OverDrive ereaders, available for checkout in the district’s library media centers as well as placing dedicated OverDrive stations in every library media center. Check back in next year. We are striving to climb another 183 percent!