year end budget surplus

Hoping to boost your digital collection’s circulation next school year? Are you also looking to build greater educator enthusiasm around eBooks and audiobooks?

Having fresh, in-demand titles to offer students and educators at the start of a new term has proven to be a critical factor in ensuring deep engagement with your digital content. To that end, OverDrive Education’s seen a growing trend of schools spending surplus end-of-year funds to expand their eBook and audiobook offerings.


Excitement for eBooks

The Beaufort schools serve roughly 20,000 PreK-12 students from across the socio-economic spectrum on the scenic southern tip of the state. Known for its strong focus on integrating technology into the classroom, including successfully implementing a 1:1 for grades 3-12, the district has partnered with OverDrive Education to deliver eBooks and audiobooks to students and educators since 2011.

Anne Aita coordinates the district’s OverDrive service, which connects thousands of readers with thousands of titles every month. She said leveraging surplus end-of-year funds to grow the district’s digital collection has played an important role in building student and educator interest in eBooks and audiobooks. “Word travels” among students when popular titles are available via OverDrive at the start of the year, she said, boosting circulation numbers.

Aita also performs staff training for the district’s OverDrive service at the beginning of each year, and said having new titles to promote during these sessions builds educator enthusiasm around eBooks and audiobooks. It’s been proven that one of the best ways to increase student usage of digital content is to have educators on board as active users.

“If I can tell educators ‘Hey, remember last year when we didn’t have this book? Well, now we do,’ that helps them buy into the OverDrive service more,” Aita said.

Cross-departmental coordination

Director of OverDrive Education Herb Miller said an important step for schools in making an end-of-year surplus purchase of eBooks and audiobooks is coordinating across departments to locate available funds. Title I, special education, ELL/ESL, school-based discretionary and curriculum are areas OverDrive partners have commonly pulled from.

Miller said schools are also taking advantage of delayed invoicing, using a combination of the current year and next year’s budgets to create a more robust digital collection.

“There’s a direct correlation between the availability and selection of digital content and the usage,” he said. “Utilizing end-of-year funds for a digital content credit with OverDrive has been a key dynamic that we’re seeing many districts now use to enhance their student engagement as they plan for the summer and next school year.”