What to do when your nearest bookstore is a one and a half hour flight away? Sign up for OverDrive!

Wanda Quigg of Sahtu DEC in Norman Wells in the Northwest Territory of Canada lives a little off the grid but that hasn’t stopped her from promoting OverDrive to her staff and students to ensure all of their reading needs (not just digital!) are met. We’ll let Wanda tell you all about it:

Isolated? No problem.

We live in an isolated region in Northern Canada where, for two and a half months, we are serviced by a barge traveling on the Mackenzie River. For another two and a half months, we are serviced by a winter ice road. At all other times, our supplies must come in by air cargo. We have to carefully consider which books and how many books we wish to purchase since the freight costs are prohibitive. Due to budget constraints, we have to be extremely selective in our choices. Our location also makes it extremely challenging and expensive to obtain anything on short notice.

When we heard about the possibility of subscribing to OverDrive, we were intrigued and excited. With OverDrive, we are able to obtain current, popular titles immediately. We can get titles like Wonder, and many students are able to access a wider range of titles than what is physically available in their schools. The student population of our region is approximately 600 and I’m excited to say, since the start of our subscription to OverDrive, we have had over 750 checkouts. I do have to admit that just over 30 of the checkouts have been mine.

Promotion drives success

Since OverDrive is new in our region, we have given a workshop to all staff members. Our plan is to offer a workshop for all grade 7 to 12 classrooms by the end of this school year. We make use of social media by putting the sign-in information for OverDrive on our websites and Facebook pages. Every time new content is added to OverDrive, an email is sent to all staff members. Just recently, at the Territorial Teachers’ Conference, a guest speaker recommended several titles and many of them are available on OverDrive. This was a perfect way of reminding the staff that the books he recommended are available on OverDrive. Several movies have been made or are in the planning stages, movies such as Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson. I send out emails promoting several books that have been made into movies. We are planning a contest where students in a random draw will win a prize for summarizing and explaining their recommendation of any book that they have read on OverDrive. This draw will be an ongoing event and we are soliciting advice from the students and classroom teachers as to how to improve it for the next round.

Don’t forget Professional Development

Another benefit of OverDrive is the Professional Development titles that are available. Professional Development books tend to bigger and heavier that most books. Having a selection of Professional Development books on OverDrive allows us to take our work with us wherever we go. We now have a central location where we can direct our staff members and we will not have to replace misplaced resources anymore. We are now in the planning stages of Professional Book Club meetings.

Overall, we are extremely pleased with what OverDrive offers us. We are looking forward to implementing new strategies to engage everyone in our region and to increase readership with OverDrive.

If Wanda can do it, anyone can! Reach out to your OverDrive team for assistance with all your promotional and professional development needs.