How Wellington City Libraries are connecting with readers through smartphone wallpapers
Millions of readers around the world have fallen in love with the convenience and accessibility of eBooks and digital audiobooks available through their library. When you have 24/7 access to books on your devices, you discover all the moments in your life you can spend reading now that all you need to do is take out your phone. In addition to readers finding new ways to connect with their favorite books, libraries are creating new ways to market their collections as well.
One of the latest innovative marketing techniques comes from our partners at Wellington City Libraries (WCL) in New Zealand. The library has partnered with a local technology startup called Excio to develop unique ways to connect with readers. Excio creates interactive wallpapers for smartphones and WCL is designing backgrounds around jacket covers in their OverDrive library curated collections. Excio allows users to swipe down from a series of rotating background images to find out more information about that image. Readers can select any title that interests them and get linked directly to the digital collection to borrow the book.
We asked the library staff to share some more information about this exciting new opportunity and here’s what they had to tell us:
How did this idea come about?
We became aware of Excio after they had participated in the first group of startups going through the Mahuki innovation programme at Te Papa (our national museum). Someone from within council made the connection for us. We have a council goal for our library service to be connecting with local startups.
How are you working with Excio to make it work with your OverDrive content?
We have subscribed to Excio for one year. That provides us with the opportunity to have 20 collections of 25-30 books in their Android app. The collections are arranged largely around Overdrive genres. Users can then select collections they want to follow and these collections will rotate on their device home screen. Dragging the screen down, users can then select buttons to either be pushed to the OverDrive site to download the book, or another button to get book information and a blurb.
How are you marketing it to your users and new users?
We are marketing through posters, banners, on our social media sites, through competitions where users can win physical books, on the WCL apps page on our website and through small cards that users can keep. We are about to launch bookmarks and QR codes on some shelving that users can scan and download from. We also did an internal story on WCC intranet to raise awareness. We demoed it at the unconference for digital librarians following NZ’s library conference about a month ago as well. We have recently launched a month-long competition which is being promoted on Facebook and via other means to encourage the sharing of images on social media to win book vouchers.
What are your plans for this program going forward?
This service provides a useful alternative access point to OverDrive, and it helps grow use of eCollections. We want to keep refreshing collections so the images change and access to new items is made available.
What news publications have covered the story?
There have been two major news stories which you can find [here](https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/small-business/96873054/excio-seeks-photogr aphers-artists-museums-to-join-background-photo-app) and here.
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