OverDrive Digital Library Blog

2017 RITA Award Finalists announced by the Romance Writers of America

March 28, 2017 - 7:52am

(Ed. Note: All of the RITA Award Finalists can be purchased from this list in OverDrive Marketplace.)

Each year the Romance Writers of America (RWA) presents the RITA awards, recognizing excellence in published romance novels and novellas. Categories range from Contemporary Romance of varying lengths to Young Adult Romance, Historical, Erotic, Paranormal and several other categories. Nearly 2,000 romance novels were submitted and the 2017 RITA Award Finalists have just been announced. The winners will be announced on July 27. This makes now the perfect time to promote these high quality titles to your Romance reading digital library users.

Romance remains at the top of the list when it comes to most popular genres checked out by OverDrive users. To help your library capitalize on this popularity we’ve created a collection of the RITA Award Finalists in OverDrive Marketplace. This list makes a great curated collection for your digital library and they’re sure to fly off the shelves. Many of these titles are available both as eBooks and audiobooks as well. In this collection you’ll find content for fans of modern romance stories, regency, suspense and much more. This collection of finalists is perfect for any and all romance readers at your library.

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EdTech Buzzwords Breakfast: Differentiation, Blended and Flipped

March 28, 2017 - 3:45am

Even those of us in education struggle to keep up with all the trends and buzzwords in education and technology. We’ve parsed three of the most common (and sometimes most confusing). Readers will note the overlap of each of these with the others, but also the nuances. If you are a breakfast lover, you might also note what a feast they might be taken all together.

Differentiation: Omelet Bar

We all recognize that feeling of stumbling into a dull hotel dining room for breakfast, expecting oatmeal and sweaty muffins and instead spying an omelet bar in the corner. We eagerly survey the selection of colorful and varied items just waiting for us to make the perfect combination.

EdSurge illustrates the handful of terms associated with differentiation perfectly. Individualized learning means instruction is paced to the learning needs of different learners. Learning goals are the same for all students, but students can progress through the material at different speeds according to their learning needs. Students might take longer to progress through a given topic, skip topics that cover information they already know, or repeat topics they need more help on.

Personalized learning means instruction is paced to learning needs, tailored to learning preferences, and tailored to the specific interests of different learners. In an environment that is fully personalized, the learning objectives and content, as well as the method and pace may all vary.

Everybody’s gotta eat, but it doesn’t have to be the same thing. Maybe in your omelet you forgo the bacon and add extra cheese, while your friend leans meat lovers. If you strike out with mushrooms and need a do-over, you can always try peppers and green onions. Maybe you love cheese but are also allergic, so you’ll need to choose things for your breakfast based on more than just desire. You have to consider the menu you can objectively handle, too.

Flipped classroom: Pancake

It’s Saturday morning. You lean over Dad’s shoulder while he stands at the griddle. He gestures with the spatula, pointing out the bubbles at the edges of the in-process pancake as they form and pop. The popping reliably tells you when to flip it over, revealing the golden glory and aroma of glutenous perfection.

EdSurge provides another excellent summary for a flipped classroom. In a flipped classroom, the traditional sequence of instruction is changed. Students spend time with core materials at home, using digital means like videos and supplemental digital reading. Classroom time is devoted to projects or to one-to-one assistance.

Have you ever noticed that you have to cook the first side of the pancake longer than the flip side? That echoes the larger balance of time spent at home with learning materials in a flipped classroom. Much of the work is done at home, on the first side. The flipside is for discussion and projects in the classroom, and getting your fluffy pancake ready to eat and enjoy.

There are four pillars of flipped learning.
  • Creating a flexible environment
  • Building a strong learning culture
  • Being intentional about the relevant content
  • The key role of the professional educator

Close readers will notice the overlap of the pillars with the goals of differentiation and individualization. There are often components of personalization in a flipped classroom. Like the omelet metaphor, you might choose nuts or berries to go into your pancake. You might get to decide, do you make quick work of a short stack or savor a nap-inducing tall stack?

Overlap is clear in the next category as well: flipped classrooms are one type of blended learning.

Blended learning: Vitamix smoothie at the kitchen counter with Mom

Technology is a powerful tool. In the breakfast lineup, there is little tech more amazing than a Vitamix blender. But a Vitamix does no have buttons, but a dial which demands human operation and attention to get the most out of the tool.

Blended learning is like that; it integrates tech, but the hallmark of blended learning is actually the preeminence of the human element. Most educational experts caution that the best e-learning outcomes result from good teachers using tech tools, not tech replacing quality teacher-led instruction.

Blended learning has become the term that captures the notion that student learns, at least in part, in an online environment, which is supervised by an adult. Students in blended environments take tests and are assessed on how much they have learned, with a careful eye on the personalized nature of learning: that technology makes it possible for students who either learn differently or have different interests to encounter material presented in a way that is engaging and meaningful to them.


Did we miss any? What edTech buzzwords are you puzzling over? Let us know in the comments.

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Get ready for the SYNC program with our Special Webcast training

March 27, 2017 - 2:21pm

SYNC, a free summer audiobook program, returns on April 27th and OverDrive’s Training Team wants to help you get the most out it. Join us this Thursday (March 30) at 11:00am (ET) or 3:00pm to learn about how SYNC works and how this great audiobook program can help students and young readers avoid the “summer slide”. By providing two free audiobooks each week throughout the summer, SYNC keeps teens engaged, preventing reading and comprehension levels from dropping while they’re out of school.

Both public and school librarians have successfully used SYNC as a part of their summer reading programs and this training webcast will show you how you can do the same. Each week, SYNC offers two audiobooks from bestselling and award-winning authors completely for free. The following week, two new titles are made available. Once they’re gone, they’re gone so you’ll want to remind readers each week about the new titles. These audiobooks are yours to keep.

This webcast is designed to provide all the information necessary to make these free audiobooks a perfect addition to your summer reading programs. Sign up today to secure your spot for one of our two sessions this Thursday. A special thanks to AudioFile Magazine for their continued partnership in this exciting yearly program.

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Books in the News: Hot Topics & Famous Authors

March 27, 2017 - 6:47am

By: Annie Suhy, Librarian and Collection Development Specialist 

Last month, we reported on the rise in popularity of a number of dystopian novels which coincided with sweeping changes to the U.S. government administration and the inauguration of President Trump. While titles like 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale continue to trend among readers, there are many more trending titles whose subject matter reflect our current thoughts, opinions, controversies, social issues, and the world’s state of affairs.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This newly released YA novel touches on current issues like police brutality, systemic racism, and gang violence—important topics that reflect the world teens live in today.

We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio
Parents, educators, and kids alike will find much to love in the highly anticipated picture book by R.J. Palacio, author of Wonder, the bestselling book that deals with tough topics like bullying. Her new picture book inspires children to choose empathy and kindness, a message we can all get behind.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
History is hot! And so is fantasy. Saunders magically weaves the two genres together in this moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
Gay made headlines recently when she pulled an upcoming book from a publisher who was also publishing a book written by Milo Yiannopoulos, a highly controversial figure and former editor for Breitbart News. In this new memoir, the bestselling feminist author offers a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself.

The Secrets of My Life by Caitlyin Jenner
Previously identifying as male, Jenner revealed her identity as a trans woman in April 2015 and received extensive media coverage for her choice. In this new memoir, Jenner reflects on the inner conflict she experienced growing up in an era of rigidly defined gender identities, and the cruel irony of being hailed by an entire nation as the ultimate symbol of manhood.

Dereliction of Duty by H.R. McMaster
McMaster was recently chosen as Trump’s new National Security Adviser. This, his only book, published in 1997, is an explosive and authoritative look at the controversy concerning the United States involvement in Vietnam.

This Close to Happy: A Reckoning with Depression by Daphne Merkin
An utterly candid story about coming-to-terms with an illness that many share but few talk about, one that remains shrouded in stigma. In the words of psychologist Carol Gilligan, “It brings a stunningly perceptive voice into the forefront of the conversation about depression, one that is both reassuring and revelatory.”

“Book in the news” makes a great curated collection idea for your digital library and we have a number of ways you can keep your finger on the pulse of the hottest new releases. Stay up to date on all trending titles by checking out This Week’s Biggest Books (updated every Monday), Books in the Media: March, or our Trending Topics page on the Resource Center.

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OverDrive Summer Read ebook titles

March 24, 2017 - 12:49pm

We are excited to announce the return of our annual OverDrive Summer Read program, designed to encourage your students to keep reading all year long. This program aims to help prevent the Summer Slide by providing exciting titles for your students that are simultaneously available during the summer weeks.

OverDrive Summer Read June 7 – August 7

OverDrive Summer Read is an annual program designed to encourage your students to keep reading all year long. The titles selected can supplement other summer reading programs, and will offer free, simultaneous access to students from June 7th–August 7th. The collection of titles will be prominently displayed on your OverDrive-powered website in eBook format. We will cycle through the collection throughout the summer to ensure your students are aware of each exciting read!

The below collections will be automatically added to your OverDrive-powered website in eBook and OverDrive Read formats (and Kindle format where available) with unlimited access between June 7th and August 7th. The titles and a promotional spotlight at the top of your homepage will be automatically added at no cost. We will cycle through the collection throughout the summer to ensure your students are aware of each exciting read!

OverDrive Summer Read titles

Explore all the Summer Read titles on the Resource Center.

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Start the conversation about eBooks without saying a word

March 22, 2017 - 10:21am

By: Melissa Marin, OverDrive Marketing Specialist. You can ask her about eBooks anytime.
It can sometimes be a challenge to represent something intangible in a tangible way. In your library branch, patrons can browse the stacks, pick up books, read the jacket copy and flip through the pages. They can’t do this in the same way with digital books. It may not be obvious to people walking through your library doors that what you offer goes beyond the walls of your building. So, how do you change that?

Hanging up a poster or having patron handouts available to get the word out about eBooks is an easy fix. We have templates available to choose from in the Resource Center to get you started. You will also find 2×2 stickers that you can place on display books to promote digital availability and flyers to help reach specific audiences like kids & teens or non-English speakers (LOTE marketing).

It’s also important to get your staff involved. Staff awareness of your OverDrive service can play a big part in the success of your digital library. Finding ways to integrate eBooks and digital audiobooks into your existing programs, reader’s advisory efforts, and information desk interactions can change the way patrons think about the library.

Make the conversation easy with “Ask me about eBooks” staff swag. We have designs ready to go for staff buttons, lanyards, stickers and even some examples of how you could create t-shirts to turn your staff into walking billboards. Even if you don’t remember to bring up the digital options you have available, your outfit could do the talking for you. You can download the folder of design options for the Ask me about eBooks swag in the “What’s Trending” section of our Marketing materials in the Resource Center.

Kirklees Libraries in the UK created staff shirts last year using the “Ask me…” logo – looking great, guys!

If you and your team get decked out in AMAeB gear, make sure to take a picture and share it with us on Twitter or email it to your Account Specialist. We love to see how you are spreading the word about digital reading!

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March Sadness: J/YA books to cry by

March 21, 2017 - 3:27pm

The Professional Book Nerds podcast recently celebrated its100th episode! For over a year, The Professional Book Nerds podcast has been introducing listeners to authors and offering book recommendations with new episodes coming out every Monday and Thursday.

One of our favorite episodes is March Sadness, books that made us cry.

Books to cry by

We’ve also put together a list of our J/YA picks for a good cry. There are classics, new classics and books you never knew you needed. Go have a good cry and let us know your favorite!

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OverDrive’s top Spring new book releases

March 21, 2017 - 8:09am

By: Adam Sockel, Marketing & Communications Specialist.

(Ed. Note: All our top spring new book releases can be found here.)

Despite what your thermometer may say, around the United States, Spring has officially sprung. Here in Cleveland, we’re anxiously awaiting the weather to start reflecting this change in the seasons but luckily we have a massive selection of new books coming out that are already drawing rave reviews to tide us over. Spring is always a big time for book releases and 2017 is no exception. To help your collection development team, we’ve created a list at overdrive.com of our staff librarians’ favorite and most anticipated new books which would make a perfect curated collection in your digital library.

Here are just some of the books we’re most excited for this spring:

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

This incredible true story highlights the inspiring young women who lost their lives working with radium-based paint and their struggle to prove the gross negligence of their employers. These women, whose lives were cut tragically short, fought tirelessly against impossible odds and led to life-changing workplace regulations, research into nuclear bombs and saved hundreds of thousands of future lives.

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda’s bestselling novel Americanah was just chosen as the winner of the One Book, One New York campaign and her latest title is just as wonderful. Several years ago, she received a letter from a close childhood friend asking her hot to raise her baby girl as a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is her empowering, funny and compelling response.



Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

It wasn’t long ago that Paula Hawkins took the literary world by storm with her #1 New York Times bestseller, The Girl on the Train. Now, she’s returned with an addictive psychological suspense novel, Into the Water. As women continue to lose their lives in a river that runs through town, secrets are dredged up that forces the town to face the devastating ways the past can affect the present. This is sure to garner a ton of interest from your readers so be sure to pre-order it today!

American War by Omar El Akkad

Omar El Akkad has spent his life traveling the world to cover important news stories in locations like Afghanistan, Egypt, Guantanamo Bay and Ferguson, Missouri. In his debut novel, American War, Akkad tells the story of a second American Civil War and a devastating plague. In 2074, the country is torn apart again by political and societal beliefs and Sarat Chestnut is caught in the Middle. Akkad portrays the life of a family who knew nothing but war and how their actions decide the fate of an entire nation.

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

Samuel Hawley has long been a loner living on the run with his daughter, Loo. Hawley is a survivor who has taught Loo how to hunt, shoot a gun, hotwire a car and live a minimalist life. As Loo becomes a teenager, she begins to wonder what happened to her mother and begins to investigate her past. Tinti tells Hawley and Loo’s story while peppering in the chapters about how Hawley got the twelve different scars on his body throughout his life. This book keeps you guessing until the very end.

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova 

Kostova put herself in the upper echelon of literary voices with her #1 bestselling novel The Historian and she returns with an engrossing novel that spans multiple timelines to unearth the dark secrets of Bulgaria. When Alexandra Bord helps an elderly couple into a taxi she realizes too late that she’s accidentally kept one of their bags. Inside, she finds an urn of human ashes and sets off to return this precious item. This kicks off a novel of immense scope that reveals the culture and landscape of this mysterious country while also exploring the power of stories and the shattered life of a talented musician torn apart by political oppression.


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Webcast: How to Talk to Your School Community About OverDrive

March 17, 2017 - 8:53am

We hope you were able to join us live on February 23 for our special webcast, How to Talk to Your School Community About OverDrive, where our school experts shared key talking points, meaningful data, and innovative ways to engage your educators, parents, students, and even those digital doubters. Additionally, we debuted our new “How to Talk to Your School Community About OverDrive” PowerPoint template and demonstrated ways to customize it for different audiences and scenarios such as staff days, meetings with stakeholders, student activity fairs, and more.

If you weren’t able to join us live for this discussion, you can still access the recording from our Resource Center and download a packet including the presentation PDF, training instructions, and the customizable PowerPoint template in a single ZIP file.
Wish you could have joined the discussion live in order to ask questions and interact with us?

We will be holding the 30-minute session again on Monday, May 15th at 3:30 PM (EST). In that session, we will share:

• Strategies to engage your staff with OverDrive.
• Marketing tactics to promote the understanding of and interest in your digital collection.
• Data to support the benefits of digital learning.
• Guidelines for integrating technology into the curriculum and classroom.

Registration details will be live soon on our Resource Center – save the date!

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Professional Book Nerds podcast celebrates its 100th episode

March 16, 2017 - 1:47pm

By: Adam Sockel, co-host of the Professional Book Nerds podcast

This morning, the Professional Book Nerds podcast released it’s 100th episode, an interview with YA author extraordinaire, Barry Lyga. Barry’s latest novel, Bang, tells the story of a four-year-old toddler who accidentally shoots and kills his infant sister, and how he struggles to cope with this horrible tragedy ten years later as a teen. Barry discusses how difficult it was to write this book, especially with young children in his house, as well as the lighter aspects of his novel, his love of comics and what it’s like being married to someone who is also in the publishing world.

For over a year, The Professional Book Nerds podcast has been introducing listeners to authors and offering book recommendations with new episodes coming out every Monday and Thursday. These episodes offer great curated collection ideas as we base our recommendations on topical themes and genres. Recent episodes include:

Big Library Read author Kate McDermott

Our latest Big Library Read just kicked off and we celebrated by speaking with the queen of pies, Kate McDermott. Kate, who was just named a finalist for the James Beard Book award, joined us to explain how she got her start in baking, what makes a great pie and what her favorite is. Take a listen but be warned: you will walk away hungry.


March Sadness:

For college basketball fans, this month is the time for March Madness but we decided to switch it up by doing an episode titled March Sadness. These are the books that make us cry, sob, weep, bawl …. you get the picture.


Our top books for March

At the beginning of each month, we offer up a collection of the hottest new book releases. These are a mix of buzz books that are getting lots of publicity as well as some mid-list titles your readers are sure to love. These monthly lists make perfect curated collections!

Kwame Alexander

Newberry Medal Winner and New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander sat down to discuss how poetry can change the world. Kwame also shared why he feels poetry is the key to creating a love of reading in children as well as chatted about his wonderful international literacy programs.

Elizabeth Kostova

Fans of the #1 bestselling novel The Historian will love this conversation with Elizabeth Kostova as she shares a preview of her latest book, The Shadow Land, explains her love of Eastern Europe, how her research process works and, of course, dives deep into the world of Dracula.

Books based in Mythology 

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman is currently the #1 book in the country and so we thought it’d be fun to discuss more titles based in mythology and lore. Join us as we discuss Percy Jackson, Achilles, the Minotaur, Merlin and much more.


You can listen to the Professional Book Nerds by searching for them anywhere you listen to podcasts. This includes iTunes, iHeartRadio, Player FM, Stitcher, the TuneIn app and any other app you use.

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You’ve launched a Shared Collection. Now What?

March 16, 2017 - 8:42am

Last month we told you all about OverDrive’s Shared Collections. We caught up with Independent School Library Director’s Association (ISLDA) and heard about why they chose OverDrive to be their digital content provider. We previewed how easy it is to launch a shared collection, as you are provided a team early on to do all the grunt work for you. So, now you know how to get started. But, what about what happens after? What happens post-launch? I could tell you, but I think it would be more valuable to you to hear from some of our veteran Shared Collections, who have been digital leaders and enthusiasts long enough to earn their ‘expert’ badge.

Shared Collections align digital content with district needs

Experts like Ken Zimmerman, Instructional Media and Technology Consultant for Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 (IU13). IU13, who launched their Shared Collection in May 2014, is an education service agency supporting 22 public school districts (as well as non-publics, preschools, adult learners and more) in southern Pennsylvania. Zimmerman chose a Shared Collection because “our number one goal was to be able to align with current district initiatives and needs,” he said. “And OverDrive fit the bill.”

Since launching almost 3 years ago, IU13 has seen continued success. They see an average of 1,000+ checkouts a month. Their librarians and media specialists report ‘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 eBooks and audiobooks offer. “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.”

With the success their Shared Collection has brought to recreational reading, IU13 has introduced OverDrive in the classroom, using our digital class sets. Students enjoy the instant, 24/7 access, as well as the convenient dictionary and note-taking tools built in our reading options. Shared Collections give you the opportunity to enhance your collection to fit your school community’s needs.

“OverDrive has the best selection and the authors we wanted”

Chris Haught, Media Mentor for Southeast Educational Development Center, had similar experiences to Zimmerman. Southeast Educational Development or SEDC, a collection of schools and districts in Southeast Utah launched in November of 2013. They chose OverDrive as their digital content provider after debating between Follett and Baker & Taylor. Haught notes “OverDrive had the best selection and the authors we wanted.”

While Haught and her staff worked to build the collection to fit their needs, they found their best content curators in their student population. Through our ‘Recommend to School’ or RTS feature built into all OverDrive Education platforms, students have helped grow the collection by requesting titles and series they would love to read. It’s taken the pressure off Haught and her team and it gives the students a sense of ownership in what they are reading. After three successful years, a majority of SEDC’s collection is now student driven.

It’s not just the students adding their two cents either, the teachers have chimed in as well. A teacher at one of SEDC’s schools requested World War II content to support their current lesson plan. “We reached out to our OverDrive Collection Specialist,” said Haught. “Within two days we had a cart that we purchased and that teacher showed her class and currently all those books are checked out!” Our purchasing portal, OverDrive Marketplace, allows for fast access, with content pushing to sites within 4-6 hours. No worry to your teachers hoping to plan their curriculum around your digital content.

Learn more

Hear more about SEDC’s success with their Shared Collection in their archived webinar which aired March 14th, sponsored by SLJ and OverDrive.

OverDrive’s Shared Collections could be your solution for long term success in digital learning, in and outside the classroom. Get started by contacting us today.

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<p>By: Rickie Mascia, OverDrive Social

March 15, 2017 - 12:53pm

By: Rickie Mascia, OverDrive Social Media Specialist.

At the London Book Fair, March 14-16, OverDrive’s global expansion is providing one of the hottest opportunities in the publishing industry. With new library partners launching in Europe, Asia and Latin America, digital book sales will continue to grow as readers want popular content (both native and translated) in international languages like Spanish, Chinese, Russian and French.

The trend in digital reading continues to grow as OverDrive saw eBook and audiobook sales dramatically increase to their institutional channels in 2016. OverDrive supplies and enables more than 90 percent of public libraries in North America and that strong commitment is driving the double-digit digital book sale increase year over year. Publishers can take advantage of this fueled growth as there is a demand for a broad catalog of eBooks and audiobooks in all subjects. OverDrive’s network consists of 36,000 libraries, schools, corporate knowledge centers and government accounts in 63 countries.

Numbers reflect significant growth in eBooks and Audiobooks usage.

The increase in popularity of eBooks and audiobooks in public libraries and schools has been fueled by significant increases in a variety of subject areas as well as new digital initiatives. Children’s and Juvenile eBooks and audiobooks grew 19 percent in 2016, and non-English titles (39 percent) and Self-Published (102 percent) experienced similar gains.

OverDrive garners new publishing partners and expands content.

In the past six months, OverDrive added publishers such as Sonolibro (Spain), Penguin Random House UK Audio, Van Schaik Publishers (South Africa), Sonia Draga Publishing House (Poland) and many more to its growing catalog of more than 5,000 publishers. Now offering content in 101 languages, OverDrive is helping publishers meet demand and reach millions of new readers in the United States and across the globe.


Community programs to get involved in that capitalize on the value of digital content:

Large scale group reading programs continue to pop up all around the world and many of them are taking advantage of their libraries’ OverDrive services to increase the reach in their community. Here are just a few exciting programs that are utilizing OverDrive’s digital reading advantage.

One Book, One New York
Together We Read (Australia and New Zealand, Canada and UK),
National Library of Singapore: National Reading Movement
CityRead London (In April, readers can borrow the CityRead London featured title, Prophecy from their local library.)

The post appeared first on OverDrive Blogs.

K-5 Quickstart is a year old. Celebrate with free eBooks!

March 15, 2017 - 9:23am

By: Nikka Hronis, Account Specialist.

Just one short year ago, we announced the launch OverDrive’s K-5 QuickStart collection—a reading service developed to promote reading, encourage digital learning, and support literacy goals for grades K-5. This fall, we took things a step further and set out to donate a K-5 QuickStart digital collection of free eBooks to 1,000 elementary schools across the country.

The K-5 QuickStart is a premium collection of eBooks in a variety of subjects for young readers, including Read-Alongs, interactive titles that sync recorded narration with highlighted words as the narrator reads. These teacher-recommended eBooks include engaging titles such as A Promise is a PromiseThe Mallory Series, Mr. Popper’s Penguins and Noisy Bug Sing-Along. The eBooks, from the K-5 QuickStart reading program, can be opened instantly in the browser with no app or downloads required. Students can read the same eBook at the same time in class, at home and everywhere, both online and offline.

K-5 Quickstart is easy to use

This month, we checked in with Rachel LeDoux who was a recipient of a free K-5 QuickStart Digital Library for her students at Francis M. Day Elementary School in Denver, CO. Here’s what she had to report:

“The QuickStart Digital Library is going over really well in our school! I introduced it to all my Library Classes in our Computer Lab. All students had to do was click on the bookmark and put in the password. It went very smoothly. I logged the Kindergarten classes in before they visited the Computer Lab, but they were able to choose and read an eBook as easily as any other grade.

“Not just messing around on the computer”

The students seemed a little disappointed when they found out that we would ‘just be reading books’ in our Computer time, but when they all were logged in and saw the variety of books they could choose from, the students were absolutely silent and intent on reading. I heard no complaints from there on out! The only time they would make a sound was when they were excited about finding an interesting book and they wanted to share with their friend. It was so great that they could read the same book side by side, and many students chose to do this. This would be a great option for teachers to have their entire classroom read a book together this way. The students are not just messing around on the computer. They are on task reading quietly and it is amazing! This will be a constant resource to students in the library and in the classroom.

The OverDrive QuickStart Digital Library gives students the experience of reading eBooks from a well-known provider. I hope that they will recognize the [OverDrive] name in public libraries and be more willing to download a book elsewhere thanks to their experience with the OverDrive QuickStart Digital Library that they have been awarded this year.”

1000 schools to get free eBooks for a year!

The OverDrive eBook donation is open to Title 1-eligible pre-Kindergarten, elementary and middle schools serving students in pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade located in the United States and its territories. For more information and to apply for the donation, visit the QuickStart webpage.


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4 easy ways to use OverDrive Help

March 15, 2017 - 7:03am

By: Adam Sockel, Marketing & Communications Specialist and co-host of the Professional Book Nerds podcast.

OverDrive Help is a wonderful resource for library users who are looking for FAQs, getting started guides or simply want to learn something new about your digital library services. Readers can do a quick search to get articles about countless topics from how to Recommend titles to the library to how to return a title before it’s due date. OverDrive Help is a one-stop shop for your patrons to get their questions answered but it’s also a useful tool your library can use to increase awareness of your digital collection. Here are four ways your staff can use OverDrive Help.

Highlight a different device each week
On your library’s homepage consider doing a weekly feature like “How to borrow eBooks using an iPad” and link to our getting started guide for iPads. The next week you can do a post featuring Kindle Fires and on down the line. In each post, link to the OverDrive Help article for that device with a note that says, “You can find getting started help for any device anytime on OverDrive Help.

Promote different OverDrive features on social media
You may know that OverDrive Read and Listen enables your users to access eBooks and audiobooks in their browser without needing to download any apps of files but do all of your patrons? By picking different features to highlight you’re showing your users all the ways they can interact with your digital library.

Quick Troubleshooting answers for supporting users
Under the “Categories” tab on the OverDrive Help homepage you’ll find an option for Troubleshooting. This provides help articles for any issue readers may come across, broken down by operating system. This is a handy page to have available to anyone taking phones call or emails from users who have questions about OverDrive. Keeping this page up when these calls come in is a great way to talk readers through their questions quickly.

Training your staff
OverDrive’s Training Team offers live monthly webcasts and on demand recordings that are perfect for keeping your staff well versed in all things digital library. In the event that a staff librarian just a has a quick question they need answered they can always search OverDrive Help for their answers. This is a took designed to help readers and staff members alike!

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Celebrate Pi Day by preparing for the Big Library Read

March 13, 2017 - 10:52pm


March 14 is known around the world as Pi Day. This is a holiday dedicated to celebrating Pi, a number used in mathematics to represent the ratio of a circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi is famous for having been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond it’s decimal point. Lots of people like to memorize and recite a long string of these digits to celebrate (3.14159…you get) but we’re choosing to celebrate Pi day with pie!

The latest Big Library Read program kicks of Thursday and, given that Art of the Pie is the eBook everyone will be reading, what better time to promote the program than on Pi Day! If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out our Big Library Read website for promotional tools and to hear our exclusive interview with author Kate McDermott. You can also join our discussion board and get great reading guide handouts to use in your library. Join us in celebrating this “delicious” holiday as we bake our first of many pies over the next few weeks!

About the Big Library Read

Big Library Read is an opportunity for those with a valid library card to read the same digital title at the same time without any wait lists or holds. Participating in this event allows your library to offer a new simultaneous use title for community-wide access from your library at no cost. It’s a worldwide digital version of a local book club, and an opportunity for your library to generate more interest in your digital collection beyond the bestsellers.

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OverDrive Education announces K-12 school spring tour dates

March 10, 2017 - 9:56am

The OverDrive Education team traveling to 9 states (including 1 in Canada) on our K-12 Fall Tour! We enjoyed meeting many of you, our school partners, in person. We had over 250 teachers, librarians, curriculum coordinators, technology specialists, and others take part. They left with tools to make the most of OverDrive in the school community and classroom.

We have begun our Spring Tour! See if we’re coming to your city and register on our events page and connect with other attendees on our Facebook events page.

K-12 Spring Tour dates

3/6 – Beaufort, SC
3/7 – Greenville, SC
3/7 – Napa, CA
3/8 – Palo Alto, CA
3/27 – Pinellas County, FL
3/29 – Collier County, FL
4/5 – Green Bay, WI
4/6 – Madison, WI
4/12 – Irvine, CA
4/25 – Ogden, UT
4/27 – St. George, UT
4/26 – Baltimore, MD
5/3 – Kansas City, MO

OverDrive is for everyone in your school community

At each session of the OverDrive Education K-12 Tour, our goal is to ensure that every person leaves with a call to action. Attendees will learn how to increase usage and awareness of digital content in their school community. We cover topics from the benefits and features of our browser-based readers, OverDrive Read and OverDrive Listen, to using digital content in the classroom. Attendees learn new tips and tricks for Marketplace, as well as how to access valuable marketing and training resources in the Resource Center.
One of the best aspects of the workshop format of the session is the chance for all of you to interact with each other and our team. Each group will have discussions on a variety of topics, from how to get more students involved in digital content creation, to using OverDrive to assign class sets. We’ll hear from OverDrive veterans and newbies and our team expects to gain valuable feedback, insight, and questions to help grow the future of OverDrive Education.

OverDrive Education K-12 Tour attendee feedback

At the end of each session during the OverDrive Education K-12 Fall Tour, we invited feedback. Here’s what some of you had to say:

“Publish publish publish student work!”

“There are more functions than I thought before, not just for eBooks!”

“I have to advocate for my administrators to be present in the digital world!”

“Love the support and collaboration that is going on behind the scenes, ease of navigating resources cultured to seasonal and institutional needs! Great pacing & info for users!”

“Reminded of all the new features we haven’t tried yet. Great stuff.”

“Awesome! OverDrive is the school librarians answer for digital content supporting a culture of reading.”

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Best of International Women’s Day 2017

March 9, 2017 - 2:41pm

March is Women’s History Month. March 8th was International Women’s Day. If you spent any time on social media yesterday, you saw plenty of creative expressions in the ongoing struggle for gender equity. Here are a few of our favorites:

‘Fearless Girl’ fittingly fearless of crowds

The statue appeared overnight in advance of international Women’s Day challenging the famous Bull on Wall Street. It was commissioned by State Street Global Advisors, the investment arm of Boston-based State Street Corp. with $2.5 trillion in funds, to help bring attention to the lack of women on corporate boards.

Its temporary installation coincides with SSGA’s new campaign to push the 3,500 public companies in which it invests to add more female directors. If you can believe it, quite a few have all-male boards. The new twist for the already pic-popular Bull has taken over social media in just two days.

Gender gap in fiction is stunning non-fiction

Starting on March 1st, Loganberry Books in Cleveland, OverDrive’s hometown, turned around all books authored by men to illustrate how much more prominent men are in the written world than women, just in time for Women’s History Month.

Reshelving the books took place during a live performance-art project, in which approximately 10,000 volumes written by men were flipped around, page-side out. In person, the aggregate effect is illustrative. One tween girl was overheard saying, “there’s, like, nothing left.” The performance art piece runs through March 14th.

Discover new heroes and narratives STEM Books for Girls

Not only is it Women’s History Month, it’s Teen Tech Week. Girls will find inspiration in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in this STEM Books for Girls collection. Biographies on Sally Ride, Amelia Earhart and Rachel Carson are highlighted as well as non-fiction titles featuring Women in Medicine, Engineering, Chemistry, Space and more.

Women’s History Books

Surf every wave of feminism with this teaser look at our J/YA fiction and non-fiction titles for Women’s History Month.

Of note

For those who doubt the power of an all-women perspective, consider this. The CEO of the company that commissioned Fearless Girl is a woman. The artist who created it is a woman, and the human featured in the sculpture is a girl. The owner of Loganberry Books is a woman, as is the tween who muttered about the lack of representation on the shelves. The two collection lists above feature 100% female authors, and feature female narratives. The OverDrive team member who compiled those many titles is a woman, as is the author of this post. #whoruntheworld

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Win free registration to Digipalooza 2017!

March 9, 2017 - 7:28am

OverDrive is excited to announce a partnership with Penguin Random House to offer 10 scholarships for Digipalooza ‘17! The scholarship will cover the $199 registration fee to the 6th international user group conference August 2-4, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio.
No matter what your job title, this conference is for you. Digipalooza blends education, networking and fun for a professional-development opportunity that you won’t forget. The focus is 100% on digital media in libraries and schools and offers attendees a first look at new features, industry trends and real-world resources and solutions that can be applied after the conference.

To enter for a chance to win the Penguin Random House Digipalooza scholarship, complete the entry form by April 15th. All U.S. and Canadian public library and school partners are eligible to win. One entry per person, please.

If you are selected as a winner and have already registered for Digipalooza, the scholarship will be applied and your registration money will be returned to you. Register today and hold your place, as spaces are quickly filling up!

Scholarship winners will be recognized at Digipalooza and will be invited to an exclusive evening event during the conference with Penguin Random House. Good luck and we hope to see you this August at Digipalooza!

Questions? Email digipalooza2017@overdrive.com.

Highlights from Digipalooza 2015

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Ghost in the Shell Manga, the revolutionary series, now available on OverDrive

March 8, 2017 - 8:32am

We’re excited to announce that the Ghost in the Shellthe award winning and revolutionary manga titles by Shirow Masamune, is now available in OverDrive Marketplace. A movie staring Scarlett Johansson is scheduled to be released in theaters at the end of March, making this the perfect time to add these titles to your digital library.

In a post-cyberpunk future, technology has advanced so far that the line between man and machine is blurred beyond recognition. This ability to interface robotics with human beings leads to dangerous cybercriminals with a unique ability to hack and reprogram humans to carry out their crimes for them. It’s up to cyborg superagent Major Motoko Kusanagi to track down these terrorists in these famed dystopian stories of politics, metaphysics and technology.

Fans of comics and manga will, undoubtedly, be aware of the Ghost in the Shell series and will delight over the ability to read them through your library’s OverDrive collection. In addition to these groundbreaking titles, you’ll also find the streaming video episodes of the anime series in OverDrive Marketplace as well. Take advantage of the hype surrounding the upcoming movie and resurgence of the popularity of these classic titles by adding them to your collection today.

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Train your library staff with OverDrive’s training webcast

March 7, 2017 - 8:26am

By: Briana Johnson-Sims, OverDrive Training Specialist

One of the key steps to promoting your OverDrive Digital Library is to make sure your staff is knowledgeable about OverDrive products and services. So grab your team and get registered for our monthly training sessions on Marketplace Basics and The OverDrive User Experience!


Marketplace Basics is the webcast for your library’s selectors. In this session, you’ll learn tips for finding the content you need to fill out your collection, including how to search for titles, access OverDrive recommended lists, and organize your purchases into carts. Join us Tuesday, March 14th or April 11th at 11:00am ET by registering on the Live Webcasts section of the Resource Center.


But wait, there’s more! The OverDrive User Experience is essential for library staff who interact with patrons. Get your questions answered about reading and listening to titles by exploring the OverDrive app and our browser based formats. Last month we made some changes to the Loans page, so you’ll want to tune in to learn more. The next sessions are being held Wednesday, March 15th and April 12th, also at 11:00am ET.


After learning OverDrive basics, you can take your marketing strategy to the next level by watching last month’s special webcast Tools to Promote Your OverDrive Digital Library. The recording and PDF for this and other sessions can be found on the Past Webcasts section of the Resource Center. Want to learn even more? Reach out to your OverDrive account team to schedule a custom training session on curation, reports, and other needs specific to your library.

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