By: Elizabeth Hutchinson, Head of Schools’ Library Service, Guernsey

Schools’ Library Service in Guernsey adopted OverDrive ebooks in 2015. It was part of our move into providing more online resources. One of our roles as SLS librarians is to promote reading for information, whether that be reading fiction or non-fiction didn’t really matter. OverDrive ebooks gave us another door into the classroom. Teachers were always willing to allow us in if we were talking about reading but are even more keen if we were to give them a link to an online resource.

1) Simple login

It has taken a while for ebooks to take off, in part due to our role as an outside service and since we are not always in schools to offer support. However, we saw a significant uptake in usage when simple login was introduced, which allowed students to login with a generic login for 2 hours. This was employed by several schools running DEAR, Drop Everything and Read.

Schools had found that in the 20 minutes allocated for DEAR, a lot of time was wasted if students did not have a book with them. The student would get permission to visit the library to find a book which they then returned at breaktime later that day. With the introduction of the simple login students were able to grab an iPad or use their own device and be reading within seconds. Interestingly, this has led to more students logging into OverDrive with their own credentials as they wanted to keep reading the book that they had started while using simple login.

2) Sora

We have been delighted with the enthusiasm our students have had since Sora was introduced. The easy and inviting format has led to increased engagement. Now students ask if they can log on as themselves, so they can view their statistics and achievements. This has been especially true with our reluctant boy readers. This group of students, who are very capable readers, normally resist any opportunity to read. Using Sora as a hook has really made a difference to their engagement.

What I really find useful is OverDrive staff are happy to put together book carts for you to view and buy on a regular basis. This means that my collection is managed without taking up too much of my time but with a focus that I have determined.

3) Growing our collection

This year we have asked if it was possible to grow our collection of Book Award winners, especially from the Carnegie and Greenaway awards and this has been duly put together and been made available for our students to read. We are currently running our new book award for year 5-7 children called the Channel Island Children’s Book Award and are hoping that our shortlist that is out in January will also be available via our ebook collection too. Follow @CIBookaward on Twitter!

Any resource that encourages engagement in reading with our students is something worth investing in. It takes time to engage with teachers but once they realise how easy it is to use our ebook collection we have found that they continue coming back for more!

Getting children to read is an important part of their education so whether that is using a physical book or an ebook does not really matter. Reading is reading and regardless of format. It is important to give our students a choice and Sora allows us to do this.


Great School Libraries
Meredith Wemhoff, Account Manager

OverDrive has the pleasure of working closely with Elizabeth Hutchinson MSc, who is the Head of Schools’ Library Service. Elizabeth is a chartered librarian, a Fellow of CILIP and a true leader in her field. Learn more about the work she is doing with the #GreatSchoolLibraries campaign. Join Elizabeth and other school librarians around the globe in reading Leading for School Librarians by Hilda Weisburg. The free online book club discussion begins Tuesday, 22 January. Sign up and more information here. We hope you will participate in the conversation!

For more information on scheduling regular recommended baskets (carts), please contact your Account Manager.