3 takeaways from #ALAMW17
Every time we return from a large conference like the American Library Association Midwinter meetings we come back feeling re-energized from the countless conversations that occur with library partners, publishers and OverDrive users. Engaging with so many librarians who put in countless hours promoting their digital services is invigorating and we often return to the office with great ideas on how to advance OverDrive’s technologies even further. As always, we also had enlightening conversations about what some of our most successful libraries are doing to keep their circulation numbers at record levels month after month.
Content remains king
This isn’t breaking news but it remains true nonetheless. Users want access to books of all kinds, ranging from the latest releases to back list titles, classics and complete series. OverDrive adds tens of thousands of titles to our collection each month and the most successful libraries are sure to add new content to their collection frequently. Many of these titles are available in multiple languages as OverDrive now offers content in over 100 of them. These are perfect options for reaching members of your community who read books in native languages or are looking to learn a new one. Even if you don’t plan on buying new titles, be sure to log into OverDrive Marketplace daily to see the latest additions available. If your users see new content each time they come to your digital library, they’re more likely to visit more often.
Once you add new books to your digital library the next step is to make sure readers can find them. The best way to do this is through frequent curation. Having a collection of your most recent purchases is a great start but libraries who are having the most success are the ones who update curated collections weekly to keep their website fresh. An example of this is San Antonio Public Library whose front page features banned books, a collection from their mayor’s book club and our personal favorite, Cece’s Picks which is a list of favorite books created by one of their own teen volunteers. If you’re looking for some new collection ideas, remember that your Collection Development rep is here to help anytime. You can also find countless great ideas in our Resource Center as well.
Another takeaway from meetings with top OverDrive accounts is that they are constantly innovating ways to connect their library with their community. King Count Public Library, for example, has joined the growing number of libraries who have partnered with local airports by putting an OverDrive Media Station in their terminal. This allows travelers to see digital content from the library and even use a temporary library card to borrow books instantly for their journey. Sno-Isle libraries used our Demand Driven Acquisition to instantly borrow titles their readers want, even if the library doesn’t own them yet. Many others use stickers and printable materials from the Resource Center to bring their physical and digital collection together. They even reach out to local retirement homes and schools to inform their community of what they have to offer. Looking for more ideas? Just ask your Account Specialist. We’re here to help.
The main thing that is confirmed anytime we get to be in a group of librarians like ALA is that they are tireless in their promotion of literacy and providing knowledge to their readers. The passion of these librarians, many who are traveling to these conferences on their own dollar, continues to shine through whenever we come together. This energy is infectious and we’ve brought it back to the office as fuel in our push to continue to bring readers young and old to the library every single day.