Budgeting for digital content remains a challenge in many schools. Individual schools often cannot launch a comprehensive digital initiative alone. To increase accessibility, OverDrive Education now offers shared collections, a collaborative eBook platform that enables two or more schools or districts to borrow eBooks and audiobooks via a single, easy-to-use website, with all purchased titles available to all participating institutions’ users.

What is a Shared Collection?

Joining a shared collection gives schools or districts increased access to more digital titles than they could purchase on their own, maximizing the benefits of these powerful reading and learning tools for students and educators. “For some schools, a shared collection is the most cost-effective way to introduce digital books to their teachers and students,” said Herb Miller, Director of Education, OverDrive Education. “Sharing resources among different schools or districts means that schools can offer greater accessibility to digital content. It’s a cost-effective way to grow a K-12 digital content collection, at about $1 or less per student.”

Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 (IU13), an education service agency supporting 22 public school districts in southern Pennsylvania, uses a shared collection. “It’s received a lot of positive attention, even at the superintendent level,” said Instructional Media and Technology Consultant Ken Zimmerman. He’s heard “story after story” of librarians reporting the emergence of “secret readers”; students who may be hesitant to visit their physical school library to check out a title that appeals to their unique interests but now enjoy the privacy and 24/7, anywhere access the digital collection offers. “I had really no idea what to expect; we have great usage,” Zimmerman said. “I’ve just gotten amazing support from OverDrive for everything we’ve needed to do.”

How does a Shared Collection work?

OverDrive content specialists make title suggestions based on collective need and feedback, but individual schools make purchasing decisions. Books purchased for a shared collection are available to all participating schools or districts through the OverDrive digital reading platform. eBook and audiobooks are filtered by grade level to ensure the right titles are reaching the right students.

“It’s like a digital interlibrary loan model. Schools don’t have resources to ship and share traditional books. OverDrive shared collections allow schools to pool resources and gain instant, easy access to the eBooks that students need,” continued OverDrive’s Miller.

For more information about OverDrive Education or shared collections, visit OverDrive.com/schools.