OverDrive Digital Library Blog

Why I Read

February 23, 2017 - 12:22pm

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

I consider myself very lucky when it comes to my employment. I’ve always loved the concept of books. If you’ll excuse the pun, the fact that all you need to do to discover a new world is open a book remains such a novel idea to me. Now, I read for a living. Part of my job is to inform our partners about the goings on at OverDrive as well as in the literary world. I also interview authors every week for our podcast and I do my best to read the books of every author I speak with. But that’s not WHY I read…

Lately, I’ve found myself spending most days filled with an anxiousness to get home and dive back into whatever book I’m currently reading. Writing has long been my way to disappear from things, be it my own words or the prose of someone far more talented. Over the last week, I’ve been thinking about why this minor anxiety is stronger than normal. This led me to create this post. There will always be a myriad of reasons why other people lose themselves in stories. These are the reasons why I read.

I read for escapism. I read to hide from the world. Because when I open a book, I can disappear from the questions of my world. It doesn’t matter if that book is the weathered, 100-years-old copy of The Brothers Karamazov lovingly pilfered from my grandmother’s bookshelf when I discovered she shared my love of Russian lit or the brand new masterpiece Pachinko on my state-of-the-art iPhone. For a few fleeting moments, I’m not concerned with politics or what my purpose is in this universe or even what I need to make for dinner. In these moments, I know that to find out what happens next, I need only turn a page.

I read for nostalgia. Growing up, I loved the creations of Jim Henson and Disney as much as any child ever has. This meant that I spent countless hours with Aladdin, The Fraggles, Simba, Buzz and Woody and Kermit and the gang. So when I came across Wintersong, which is described as a cross between the Labyrinth and Beauty and the Beast, I was hooked. I can’t tell you how many times I explored the tangled world of the Goblin King with my sister. This book brought me back to those popcorn-filled afternoons. Books have a way of stirring emotions like few other mediums can. I don’t have the ability to return to the simple perfection of those moments on the couch but while in the pages of this tale I was able to recapture the whimsy of those fond memories.

I read to share stories with those I love. It should come as no surprise that my mother is an avid reader and the woman I married often finds herself lost in the pages of a good book as well. Nearly every conversation I have with mom begins with the books we’re currently reading. Half the fun of reading a wonderful story is being able to close the book and find someone to discuss it with. My wife and I have spent untold hours talking about the books we’ve just finished, the books we’ll be reading next and the books we can’t wait to add to our collection. The fact that I get to chat about these books with the authors who wrote them doesn’t hurt either.

I read to continuously acquire knowledge. To get insight from authors of different cultures than my own. To gain understanding and appreciation for lives and experiences I’ve not had. You don’t need an unlimited travel budget to learn about people who may not look, sound or live like you. Reading diverse books from authors with backgrounds or belief systems that you’re unfamiliar with is a perfect way to have a more informed view of the world. You don’t have to agree with what they believe in or stand for, but that should not stop you from learning why they believe.

I read because I fervently believe that words can and forever will change the world.

I read because I still believe magic is real and that “happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

I read because writers notice the things I wish I did. The simple perfection of the decor on the walls of an Irish pub. The glint of an eye. The weathered cracks of a grandfather’s hand as they rest silently in his lap. Reading descriptive prose about the world an author is building leads me to be more aware of my surroundings. After reading a book that does a particularly good job describing the details of a setting I find myself imminently more aware of beautiful subtleties in the world.

I read for a million reasons and more but mostly I read because it makes me happy. I read because I know that, regardless of how stressful my life is at any given moment, all I need to do for a moments’ worth of happiness is to open my OverDrive app or a new book. I read because, sometimes, that moment is all you need.

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Resources for Digital Learning Day 2017

February 23, 2017 - 8:30am

Happy Digital Learning Day! Digital Learning Day began in 2012 as a way to spread innovative practices and ensure that all youth have access to high-quality digital learning opportunities no matter where they live. OverDrive knows that an effective classroom is not about technology, it’s about learning. It’s not about swapping out teachers for laptops, it’s about enhancing the role of the teacher in the classroom with the very best tools to meet the ever-changing needs of their students.

Digital is all we do

As a 100% digital company, OverDrive is serious about technology in learning and communication. The needs are great and various, from introducing a kindergartner to reading with an interactive Read-Along eBook to serving middle and high schoolers with digital class sets for ELA or providing college students with career and test prep. We’ve chosen some of our favorite titles from the industry’s largest catalog of eBooks and audiobooks. Check out how on of our partners uses eBooks for Digital Learning.

K-12 Digital Learning Titles

To celebrate Digital Learning Day, we’ve chosen some of our favorite titles from our catalog of eBooks and audiobooks, the industry’s largest.

Teen Tech Week 2017 is March 5-11. Get a head start on materials for your library or classroom.

Learn more about Engineers Week in this blog, featuring STEM Books for Girls.

The importance of maker spaces are popping up everywhere, and they are perfectly suited for the school library.

Making in Every Medium has inspiration for everything from biodiesel to Python to baking to Steampunk LEGO, grades 7-12.

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New to OverDrive: Hal Leonard Music Scores

February 22, 2017 - 12:41pm

By: Liz Tousey, Librarian and Collection Development Analyst

Do you have a bride-to-be looking for music to be played live at her wedding? What about a patron who’s thinking about auditioning to the local community theater and needs an anthology of classic stage tunes? Perhaps you have a local church youth choir looking for Christian rock songs. Or maybe you have a patron like me: one who’s currently teaching herself how to play the ukulele, and is interested in self-guided instruction and easy tablature. Well, we now have an eBook for that! OverDrive is happy to announce that over 3,300 Hal Leonard music scores are newly available in ePUB and OverDrive Read!

About the Collection

The scores are predominantly popular music, jazz, and musical theatre books for a vocalist or solo instrument with and without accompaniment, and include songbooks, fake books, and sheet music. There are also plenty of method books and self-guided instruction for private lesson instructors and DIY’ers, as well as music specifically for children. The popular music ranges from turn-of-the-century folk songs to Adele’s Grammy-winning 25, and the musical theater books are just as diverse. Some scores even contain the audio accompaniment! We’ve found that these files look and sound best when downloaded, due to their size.

Search Tips

The most commonly occurring BISAC code is for the collection is: “MUSIC / Printed Music / General.” But some of the more specific codes used are: “Printed Music / Guitar & Fretted Instruments” and “Printed Music / Piano & Keyboard Repertoire” and “MUSIC / Instruction & Study.” To search by instrument, we’ve found that it’s easiest to keyword the instrument, and limit your search in the left navigation bar to Publisher: Hal Leonard. Also, searching by publisher in the Basic or Advanced Search is also an easy way to review the all of the scores available.

Building your Collection

Below are a few recommended lists we’ve created to get you started with your digital music score collection. Click on the links below to log in to Marketplace and view the selections. And as always, our staff librarians would be happy to make you a customized cart of titles to review at any time- just reach out to your Collection Development Specialist, whose contact information can be found in the Support Tab of your Marketplace account.

Musical Theater and Motion Picture Movie Scores
Popular Artist Songbooks and Music Scores
Fake Book Music Scores
Songbooks and Music Books for Kids!
Wedding Songbooks & Romantic Sheet Music

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Your OverDrive Resource Center

February 22, 2017 - 12:22pm

By: Christina Samek, Marketing Specialist.

OverDrive’s Resource Center was created with our school partners in mind. We wanted it to be your one-stop-shop for all things OverDrive: the best of our marketing, collection development, training and product resources. We are coming up on the anniversary of its launch and hopefully, you are familiar with our offerings. If not or if perhaps you need a refresh, here’s how the Resource Center can help you have the best year of OverDrive service, yet!

Promotion, Promotion, Promotion

In our Marketing and Outreach section you’ll find customizable print pieces, digital resources like social media graphics and videos, communication templates for press releases and newsletters, and student activities (including my personal favorite ’eBook Exploration‘, for multiple grades!). Promotion is key to driving usage at your OverDrive site!

If you are looking for new and engaging pieces to keep your users coming back for more, check out our ’What’s New‘section. We update this section regularly with seasonal options and fun, creative ideas to capture user interest, young and old. Right now, our 2 x 6 ‘Did you Know’ Bookmarks are excellent for display and distribution at your library and around your school! Alert your users to some of best features digital books offer.

Get on the Training Train

In our Staff Training section, we make your professional development days and staff training events a breeze with our on-demand, always available User Experience and Marketplace training sessions. Whether you are watching from the comforts of your home or in a large group, these sessions all hover around 20 minutes or less. They cover everything from using your website, our browser-based format, OverDrive Read, shopping in Marketplace, understanding title assignment, to managing content access levels and more!

We also offer live, special webcasts covering a variety of topics. Up next, join us on February 23rd for How to Talk to Your School Community about OverDrive where our marketing and outreach experts will discuss strategies to engage your staff with OverDrive and marketing tactics to promote the understanding of and interest in your digital collection Register now.

If you are booked that day, don’t worry. We archive all of our special sessions and basics series in our Past Webcasts section.

Develop that Collection

Our Collection Development section includes helpful information and links out to OverDrive Marketplace where you’ll do your shopping and purchasing.

But, if you struggle like I do, shopping is hard! It’s hard to know exactly what your users want or need in your OverDrive collection. Our dedicated team of on-staff librarians have taken the pressure off with our popular, much-loved Recommended Lists. They’ve curated a variety of lists covering an eclectic and wide range of topics, that link out to Marketplace where you can review and purchase. Easy-peasy!

My personal favorite is the ’Diverse Reading’ set which currently features LGBT Characters and Authors, Immigration Issues, and more!

Also available in from Collection Development: our monthly eHighlights catalog! Check it out for a guide to the hottest and newest titles available from OverDrive.


Our Product Information section is where you’ll find all our format information, features, product enhancements and FAQs–basically your OverDrive product snapshot. It’s a great reference if you are looking to add more to your current OverDrive website experience or are looking for quick FAQs. Our features section highlights free additions you can add at any time.

I always recommend OverDrive ReadBox. It’s an easy and engaging way to highlight your OverDrive content. It allows you to embed OverDrive Samples from any website or social media!

As you’ve probably guessed, your Resource Center has a lot to offer. Check it out today and tune into the blog regularly as we spotlight some of our favorite resources and features.

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eReading Rooms offer unique digital library curation options

February 22, 2017 - 8:06am

By: Shannon Carroll, OverDrive Account Specialist 

eReading Rooms are additional curated locations available on your OverDrive platform that show content that share a certain theme, age level or format.  Most commonly, our partners utilize Kids and Teens rooms, which limit content based on audience level, to provide a targeted destination for our younger customers.

With the launch of our new OverDrive website interface, eReading Rooms now have more expansive options than ever before.  In addition to rooms filtered by audience or format, we can create Subject and Language rooms, as well as other custom rooms that can serve various purposes. The new OverDrive websites have enabled us to get creative with our Rooms and are offering these new options thanks to some great partner feedback. Indianapolis Public Library was looking for a solution to highlight their foreign language content in their OverDrive collection, and with the creation of Language rooms we were able to help them accomplish their goal.

“Language rooms offer a seamless experience, both in terms of content and the languages OverDrive offers” said Simon Miller, OverDrive’s new interface Product Owner.  “If your device is set to Spanish, and you go to your Spanish room, you see Spanish navigation making everything seamless for the user with no additional clicks needed.”

Setting up an eReading Room has its advantages over simply creating a collection, as they can provide a good location to offer a broad subject where patrons can dive in deeper. The collections within a room can be customized with auto-generated lists, and existing or specifically created curated lists. The Kids eReading rooms also provide parents peace of mind when putting a child on the website as they’ll only see age-appropriate content.

Simon went on to say that “libraries have no doubt many deep areas in their collections that a subject based room could make a lot of sense, especially if it’s content they buy regularly, and they know users habitually gravitate to.  Use the strength of the collection to work out what makes sense for a curated list and what could live better in a room.” Some subject room suggestions include a Romance room, Graphic Novel/Comic room; a Business room, a wellness room.

Many libraries are already opting to include new rooms in their collection, Hancock Public Library implemented both an eBook and Audiobook room, giving their customers a space to browse for their next read while filtering out to their preferred format.  CLAMS, Inc. wanted a place for patrons to browse their Sponsored Collections, and a room fit their needs perfectly.

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Happy Engineers Week! Girl Day is February 23rd.

February 21, 2017 - 10:38am

Girl Day is a worldwide campaign to introduce girls to the fascinating world of engineering. Thousands of people—engineers, teachers and others—act as Role Models and educate girls about how engineers change our world. This simple act has turned many girls on to engineering & technology careers.

Because you can’t be what you don’t see.

We think a lot about representation and inclusion here at OverDrive. Inclusion sits at the intersection of so many issues: race, ability, economy, gender and behavior. Check out these resources to keep your classroom civil and healthy.

eBooks and audiobooks for inclusion

STEM Books for Girls

February 23rd is Girls Day; these classroom titles are sure to boost engagement for girls in science and math in your classroom. The preview of our Women’s History Month list will round out the help, too.

Black History Month

We’re halfway through Black History Month. Don’t let your lessons stop at King and Parks. Here are nearly 150 titles of the Black American experience, including biography, history and culture.

Inclusion and Representation

An essential list of titles to promote positive classroom culture, help students handle conflict, and deal with bullying and the bystander effect.

Representation blogs with more titles

OverDrive is for All Types of Learners

Audiobooks and ReadAlongs help English Language Learners practice their skills efficiently and playfully. Our dyslexic font makes it easier for readers with processing challenges to access the books that might otherwise pose issues in print.

Content to Keep Representation in Your Classroom

This blog features podcasts and an extensive collection of lists focusing on inclusion of African American, LGBTQ, Asian, Hispanic and Jewish authors and experiences.

The Importance of Representation in Your Classroom

Celebrating The Snowy Day and #1000blackgirlbooks.

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8 books to read for Black History Month and beyond

February 21, 2017 - 7:43am

By: Bethany Porter, Librarian and Collection Development Analyst

(Ed. Note: all titles mentioned in this post can be found here.)

If you work in a public library, (or a school, or a university), you know how important diversity in literature is. Representation is essential when it comes to ensuring that a group of people feel welcome and included in a community. I choose at least one book every February to expand my knowledge of the African American experience in America. I have been considering which one I will select to celebrate this Black History Month, and have compiled an excellent list of titles to share with you.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
You probably read this one in high school, but it’s definitely worth revisiting. Frederick Douglass was born into slavery, became a member of the abolitionist movement, and spent his life fighting for equality.

Difficult Women
If you haven’t heard of Roxane Gay yet, you should check out her Twitter feed right now. I’ll give you a moment.

I finished this book in two short sittings. It’s is packed full of women who live beautiful, tragic, and difficult lives. The stories are short, but the characters will stay with you for a long time. Trigger Warning: The stories in the book are drawn from Roxane Gay’s own experience with sexual assault. This is not by any means a light read, but it is an eye-opening collection that gives insight as to what it’s like to be a black woman in America.

The Bluest Eye
The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison’s first novel, and one of her most memorable. The main character in this novel is a young black girl whose only wish is for her eyes to be blue. Morrison takes questions about what it means to be black and meshes them together with questions about what it means to be beautiful.
If you’re looking for more recent Toni Morrison, check out God Help the Child. Morrison is a powerhouse when it comes to beautifully writing about race. You can’t go wrong with any of her titles!

Hidden Figures
Movie Buffs: This one’s for you. I have not seen the film yet, but it is next on my list. This is an incredible story of the black, female mathematises who helped launch the United States into the Space Race. I love a good story about strong, intelligent women, and this one does not disappoint.

Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
I was late to the bandwagon when I read this one, but if you haven’t gotten to it yet, you really should. Henrietta Lacks, now famous to scientists as HeLa, was a poor tobacco farmer from Virginia who was incorrectly treated when she went to the hospital with cervical cancer in 1951. Her doctor took a sample of her cancer cells, and these cells have been multiplying and are still used in medical testing today.
Rebecca Skloot does an amazing job of inserting humanity into what was previously seen as a sterile, pragmatic cell sample. Henrietta’s family was never reimbursed for the cell samples that have been shared between scientists worldwide, but thanks to this book, Henrietta now has a face, a name, and a legacy.

The New Jim Crow
I would like to encourage everyone to read this. It will make you uncomfortable, and it will not be a light read. It is, however, an incredibly important aspect of today’s society that needs to be acknowledged. Michelle Alexander is a lawyer and civil rights scholar. She explains that, while the U.S. claims to be a colorblind nation, that there is still a ton of work to be done. She argues that the U.S. criminal justice system targets young black men, by charging these people with crimes that are ignored when committed by people of other races, or by erroneously slapping on felony charges (and stripping away the right to vote).
This book is incredibly controversial, but Alexander backs up her anecdotes with facts and figures. This is a book that could be used to generate significant and vital conversations.

Between the World & Me
I must confess, I haven’t read this one yet. I choose at least one book to celebrate Black History Month every year, and this is the one I have chosen this year. Between the World and Me has been on every list since its release in 2015. Ta-Nehisi Coates writes a series of essays to his son that recognizes how deeply race has shaped American history. It is spurred on by love for Coates’ son. I’ve heard the audiobook is excellent, and that this is one title that every teenager in America needs to read.

Chimanada Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria, emigrated to the United States, and has earned degrees from John Hopkins and Yale Universities. She often writes about immigrant and refugee experiences in America, which is exactly what Americanah is about. This novel is about Ifemelu, a young Nigerian woman whose country is ruled by a military dictatorship. She decides to move to the United States to study, and ends up writing a blog about race in America.
Adichie shifts flawlessly between Ifemelu’s story and the life of Obinze, who is stuck in Nigeria for a time. This novel weaves these two lives together, and despite taking place on three different continents, depicts just how small our world really is. If this book doesn’t make you want to create a united world, I don’t know what will.

What will you and your patrons be reading this February? Let me know! I am always accepting recommendations.

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Maryland Digital eLibrary Consortium surpasses 10 million checkouts on OverDrive

February 16, 2017 - 8:15am

Recently, Carroll County Public Library (CCPL) shared a press release, expressing their excitement in being a part of a major milestone for the Maryland Digital eLibrary Consortium. The group, made up of libraries throughout the state, has long been one of our most active and forward thinking digital library partners, providing eBooks and audiobooks to the readers of Maryland for over a decade. During this time, they’ve seen their digital circulation continue to grow, having surpassed 2 million checkouts with OverDrive in 2016 alone.

Carroll County has done their part to contribute to the continued success of the consortium. Despite making up only 3% of the state’s population, CCPL circulated nearly half a million digital titles from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. From their press release: CCPL joined the Consortium in the Fall of 2004 to provide customers with unprecedented access to digital formats of popular and classic titles provided by the digital content provider, OverDrive. OverDrive, led by Steve Potash, CEO, is the leading provider of eBook and digital audio content in the US, and has supported and matured with the Consortium and CCPL by providing access to the latest titles using the newest technologies. The collection of titles continues to grow with each library system providing funds and staff to purchase new content and manage the collection.

The Maryland Digital eLibrary is a wonderful example of how consortia libraries can build a successful digital solution for readers by working together to build a robust collection. By building a large, shared collection of titles and then using OverDrive Advantage to provide content for your community, you can make your budget go further and continue to give your readers what they want.

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Trump Presidency Brings Many Books Back into the Spotlight

February 15, 2017 - 7:25am

By: Annie Suhy, OverDrive Collection Development Analyst

No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, we can all agree that the times they are a-changin’. Regardless of whether you are in favor of the current political changes happening in our country or fearful of them, many of us are turning to books for the answers we seek. For most of us, the books we choose to read strengthen and reinforce our own ideas and opinions. For the brave and open-minded, books can serve as a chance to walk around in someone else’s shoes; to see the world from a different or opposing point of view. In uncertain times, books allow us to arm ourselves with information when we otherwise feel powerless; to connect us to a network and a world beyond ourselves when we might otherwise feel alone. Across the country and even the world, many readers are reaching for books that provide such insight, many of which feature controversial topics, dystopian themes, historical struggles, hot button issues, and books on and by the new President. A few titles currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity include:

*1984 by George Orwell

A prophetic and haunting tale that exposes the worst crimes imaginable: the destruction of freedom and truth.

*Animal Farm by George Orwell

George Orwell’s classic satire of the Russian Revolution has become an intimate part of our contemporary culture, with its treatment of democratic, fascist, and socialist ideals through an animal fable.

*Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

This title emerged as a premier moral apologia for capitalism, a defense that had an electrifying effect on millions of readers who had never heard capitalism defended in other than technical terms.

*Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

With a storyteller’s genius, the author weaves ethical controversies in a compelling narrative that dawns in the year 632 AF (After Ford, the deity).

*Defying Hitler by Sebastian Haffner

When the famous German author Sebastian Haffner died at age ninety-one in 1999, a manuscript was discovered among his unpublished papers that offers a compelling eyewitness account of the rise of Hitler and Nazism.

*It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

A cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy, it is an alarming look at how fascism could take hold in America.

*The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt

A recognized classic, this book traces the emergence of modern racism as an “ideological weapon for imperialism,” begining with the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe in the nineteenth century and continuing through the New Imperialism period from 1884 to World War I.

*Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil by Lezley McSpadden

This revelatory memoir by the mother of Michael Brown, the African American teenager killed by the police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, sheds light on one of the landmark events in recent history.

*The Text of the United States Constitution

Over and over, the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention clashed and compromised. Slavery, a bill of rights, legislative representation—all the battles over these issues are enshrined in the language of the Constitution.

Trump: The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump

An unguarded look at Trump in action—how he runs his organization and how he runs his life—as he meets the people he needs to meet, chats with family and friends, clashes with enemies, and challenges conventional thinking.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

One author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

Titles with an asterisk can be included in a customizable Simultaneous Use plan from Blackstone Audio so they are always available to patrons for check out with no waiting. The OverDrive Collection Development Librarians have created a “Books You Need to Read” Simultaneous Use package featuring many sought after titles for the new political era. Contact your Collection Development Specialist for more information or to order this custom package.

For more, explore these lists:

1984 Read-Alikes
The Immigrant Experience
Books Featuring Contemporary Civil Rights Issues
Political & Foreign Affairs
Books on Trump

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Webcast: How to Talk to Your School Community About OverDrive

February 14, 2017 - 1:40pm

So, you have OverDrive – now what? Creating a shared language and skill set is important when undertaking any new technology or system. ‘Let our trainers and experts help you connect more meaningfully and accurately with your teaching team, administration, parents and students about the benefits of digital content in and outside the classroom.

Join us on Thursday, February 23 at 3:30 PM (EST) for How to Talk to Your School Community About OverDrive. This webcast will review practical ways to:

• Increase marketing efforts to promote understanding of and interest in the collection.
• Include statistical data in discussions with key members of the community.
• Introduce OverDrive to new and returning populations of students.
• Integrate technology into the curriculum and classroom.

Our school experts will share key talking points, meaningful data, and innovative ways to engage your educators, parents, students, and even those digital doubters.

In this 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.

Register online for How to Talk to Your School Community About OverDrive. For future webcasts and webinars, check out our training page for K-12.

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Launch a Shared Collection and never look back

February 14, 2017 - 1:12pm

By: Christina Samek, OverDrive Marketing Specialist

February brings a strange tradition here in America. We watch, with baited breath, to see if a cute little groundhog will see it’s shadow and doom us with 6 more weeks of winter. I’ve spent my whole life in Ohio, and even if Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t see his shadow, I’m wearing my parka until April. This tradition, not even remotely rooted in science, inspired the film Groundhog Day in which a bumbling Bill Murray is forced to relive the same day, Groundhog’s Day in fact, over and over again. As an educator or administrator pursuing a digital reading platform, you may feel like Bill in that you have to do the same thing over and over again. Shared Collections offer variety and access you’ve never had before.

OverDrive always has something new

Our Education platform offers you an opportunity to grow your collection year after year, no loopholes. You aren’t paying for the same tired content, you add more as you go. With OverDrive Education’s Shared Collections you add more as a group of schools, where in short, there’s even more to love.

A shared collection enables schools or districts to have access to more digital titles than any one individual institution could purchase on their own. For example, if your school were to initiate a digital collection of their own, they may be able to afford 50 titles. However, by joining a collection shared by multiple schools or districts, your school would have access to 1,000 titles. Your shared collection grows as more schools or districts join.

It gives you an opportunity to ensure your students are seeing new content year after year, as more schools and districts add to the collection. In ensures varying interests are satisfied. For example, if School A is purchasing only curriculum content and School B is purchasing only sustained silent reading content, students from Schools A and B reap the benefits of both!

Shared Collection successes

You don’t have to stress on the getting started process, we make launching a shared collection easy, efficient, and fit to your schedule. Just ask the Independent School Library Director’s Association (ISLDA), currently launching a shared collection. They explored digital learning platforms with Gales, Follett, and Mackin Via but ultimately decided OverDrive was the best fit for their group’s needs.

Lucy Foley, Media Specialist at Visitation School, notes “Our Upper School students participate in a 1:1 laptop program, and the resources and access they will gain through OverDrive will help them be prepared for classwork and also give them opportunities to develop an appreciation for literature to carry with them into the future.” She is excited to partner with her community of independent schools and OverDrive to offer another avenue of learning.

Her colleague, Bonnie Morris, Librarian, agrees “I have very much wanted to bring eBooks to my patrons but, have felt intimidated with the formats, keeping track of subscriptions and the costs involved.” OverDrive “presents a cutting-edge opportunity to try new technology in my library and see how it will impact my library patrons without a huge risk. By sharing with my colleagues, we can work together to help our students.”

Expert content curation

Helping your students is our ultimate goal. At contract signing, you receive a dedicated OverDrive team, who essentially take on the grunt work so you don’t have to. Take it from Bailey Hotujac, OverDrive Content Specialist, who is currently helping ISLDA toward their launch. “We have a team of school librarians who manage the shared collection content to ensure that it stays fresh and relevant, while meeting the needs of all of the member schools. We take all of the work out of managing a shared collection so each school can focus on promoting the service and getting students reading.”

A Shared Collection is a solution for anyone exploring a digital learning platform, for anyone who has thought about OverDrive but never took the plunge, for anyone, any school, period. We are excited to see how ISLDA’s students will benefit when their OverDrive collection launches in a few weeks. Foley noted one of the reasons OverDrive worked for her was because of what OverDrive could do for her students in the long run. She adds “As our school motto states, we educate students “not for school, but for life.”’ We like that idea.

If you are interested in a Shared Collection, contact us today.

Tune in next month as we share testimonials from our veteran Shared Collections schools on what they’ve learned and how they’ve benefited.

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Three ways OverDrive supports your Professional Development goals

February 14, 2017 - 11:00am

Educators are requesting more Professional Development in edTech. In a 2016 survey with ASCD, OverDrive found that educators identified two major themes the responses about the PD they desired to be successful with digital content. They felt the PD should be a hands-on how-to, differentiated, ideally with facilitators who have already successfully implemented the technology in their own classrooms. Second, they were looking for training, ideas, and examples on how best to smoothly integrate the digital content or technology into their instruction, curriculum, or both.

1) Extensive list of Professional Development titles

OverDrive’s extensive catalog of titles is ideal for an all staff read, prior to an in-service day. Digital delivery lets teachers complete the reading ahead of time, and bring the same materials to the course. A depth of titles and unlimited access also means that teachers will be able to find the resources they need when following a more self-directed approach. Beyond our traditional PD topics, we offer a large selection of classroom culture titles, essential for inclusion.

2) Monthly webcasts and partner webinars

OverDrive webcasts are offered the second week of each month. Tuesday features topics on Marketplace and Wednesday examines the user experience. Webcasts give teachers the freedom to pursue professional development at their own convenience. Besides direct training modules, we partner with organizations like ASCD and SLJ throughout the year to provide webinars on digital learning and to highlight successes in our partner schools. Check out our K-12 staff training page for a preview of some of the recent topics we’ve covered and register for what’s coming up.

3) Customized training for partners

OverDrive offers customized, tailored specifically to a school’s needs. We can design a training session based on your desired time and length, topic or combination of topics and group size. We also strive to demonstrate using your accounts—Marketplace and your school digital website—so you get the experience that most closely resembles your own. Questions can be submitted upfront to ensure that we are covering everything you need.

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The countdown is on – Digipalooza is coming (infographic)

February 13, 2017 - 6:24am

By: Melissa Marin, OverDrive Marketing Specialist.

We’re less than 6 months away from Digipalooza, OverDrive’s digital library conference you can’t miss! Digipalooza is a unique professional development opportunity, no matter what your role is at the library.

Our goal is to help you learn innovative ways to increase your digital circulation and engage with new users through sharing best practices, real-world solutions, success stories and a preview of OverDrive’s product updates. Hear from leading librarians, industry experts, and members of the OverDrive team about digital collection development, marketing, training, troubleshooting tips, and more. Connect with people who do what you do – A previous attendee told us, “I made more networking contacts at Digipalooza than I have at every other conference I have attended in the past 5 years combined!”

If we have you sold but you need help persuading a co-worker to attend with you or a manager to approve budget and time to participate, we’re here to help. Professional development not only benefits you personally but allows you to become a knowledge expert so you can share your new insights and experiences with everyone at your library when you return. The Wall Street Journal wrote last year, “The employees who make the strongest case, with data and specific projections, are most likely to get a green light.” Check out our infographic below with some facts and figures about Digipalooza to help make your case to attend. Utilize the Reports in OverDrive Marketplace to show your digital collection’s strengths and weaknesses. Think about how our sessions, networking with libraries from around the world and face to face time with Team OverDrive and leading publishers could help solve problems and support your digital growth. Finally, compare the low cost of registration ($199) to the increasing fees at other conferences and workshops that don’t even include all of the bonuses you get at Digipalooza. Don’t worry about budgeting in extra for meals everyday or having to pay out of pocket for social events in the evenings – food throughout the conference and admission to not one, but TWO special evening outings, are wrapped into the price of registration.

We hope to see you here in Cleveland this August. Register now!

Click here to download the full size infographic PDF.

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The Enduring Legacy of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale

February 9, 2017 - 7:54am

By: Jill Grunenwald, OverDrive Collection Development Analyst & co-host of the Professional Book Nerds Podcast

I was fifteen when I first discovered iconic Canadian author Margaret Atwood. It was 1997, which I only remember because the Stow Public Library in Stow, Ohio was going through a big renovation that required a temporary move which meant I found Cat’s Eye while perusing the shelves of a local shopping center.

(Some people mark passages of time based on events. I apparently do it with books.)

Five years later, in college, I discovered her poetry and slowly began working my way through her entire catalog (fun fact: one of the characters in The Robber Bride has the last name Grunwald). If pressed, I will tell you my favorite books of hers is Oryx & Crake but like any well-read feminist, there will forever be a special place in my heart for The Handmaid’s Tale.

Set in a near-future New England (based on careful study of landmarks mentioned, most believe it’s Cambridge, MA, outside of Boston), but not the New England that we know now: a totalitarian theocracy has overthrown the United States government and women have been stripped of all rights. Sterility is on the rise, so those women that are still able to reproduce are assigned to households of the ruling class to act as enslaved handmaidens for the men. Our narrator, Offred, is one such handmaiden who is forced into a relationship with The Commander with the goal of producing a child that The Commander and his wife can raise because they are unable to have children of their own.

(There really is no delicate and polite way to describe that, is there?)

In light of recent events, dystopian novels have seen a huge bump. Thanks also in part to the Super Bowl commercial for the upcoming Hulu adaptation, this includes The Handmaid’s Tale, which shot to the top of the Amazon bestseller list virtually overnight and we here at OverDrive have also noticed an increase in demand for this particular title (as I’m sure our library partners have as well).

Personally, I’m fascinated that people are turning to dystopia during a period of unrest and unease. The popularity of such books is something we discussed in our Professional Book Nerds podcast episode about the genre and it seems to be even more timely these days.

When The Handmaid’s Tale was published in 1985, the events described seemed so inconceivable and absurd, it was impossible to take them seriously (or, well, I imagine. I was 4 years old at the time). But now, over thirty years later, Offred’s tale feels a little too familiar for comfort and that near-future may be nearer than we think.

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We hope you’re hungry because Art of the Pie is the next Big Library Read selection

February 8, 2017 - 1:01pm

Grab your aprons and your rolling pins because the Big Library Read is coming back on March 16 and we’re heading to the kitchen. Called “one of the best cookbooks of 2016” and the new “Pie-Baking Bible” by NPR, Oprah.com and others, Art of the Pie promises to be an exciting read for bakers of any level. Whether you’ve never made a pie in your life or you have your own crust recipe memorized, this book will be perfect for you. Millions of readers from around the world will have access to this title through their libraries OverDrive-powered website without wait lists or holds from March 16-30.

Participating libraries and schools are welcome to use the marketing materials available to promote the exciting Big Library Read event to your users as well as your entire community. During that time we’ll also have a discussion board available so users can share their thoughts, different recipe ideas and interact with each other regardless of where they’re reading the book. You’ll want to be sure to visit the discussion board often because, when it comes to baking, everyone has an opinion.

About the Big Library Read

Big Library Read, facilitated by OverDrive, is a reading program through your library that connects millions of readers around the world with the same eBook at the same time without any wait lists or holds. It’s a worldwide digital version of a local book club, the program is free through your local library or school library and all you need to get started reading is a library card or student ID.

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Discover Manga with up to 50% off top trending titles

February 8, 2017 - 9:58am

By: Rickie Mascia, OverDrive Social Media Specialist.

OverDrive has partnered with Kodansha Advanced Media (KAM) and VIZ Media, the two bestselling manga publishers to provide hundreds of translated (English) manga titles to libraries in North America and Canada.

Kodansha Advanced Media (KAM), is offering 50% off newly-added titles through February 28th! KAM focuses on the digital distribution and promotion of premier English-language manga, including bestsellers Attack on Titan and Fairy Tail. The majority of titles are English translations from original Japanese editions published by its Tokyo-based parent company.

VIZ Media features a wide variety of its most popular digital manga (graphic novel) titles at participating libraries including popular titles Naruto, Tokyo Ghoul, One-Punch Man and many more. Home to blockbusters Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, and Pokemon, VIZ Media displays an extensive library of titles and original content offering 30% off their full catalog through Feb.13th.

Once you have curated your selection of popular Manga titles make sure to customize a “Discovering Manga” collection list to display on your homepage to help your patrons discover new Magna.

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Save up to 50% on 2000+ romance titles during our February sale

February 8, 2017 - 9:14am

With Valentine’s Day falling in the middle of the month, February has become the unofficial “Romance Month” in the literary world. For libraries, this means big savings as over 2,000 romance titles are up to 50% of in OverDrive Marketplace from now through the 20th. Sale titles include bestsellers from Nicholas Sparks, Susan Mallery, Samantha Chase, Julie Ann Walker and many more. To keep things easy for your your Collection Development staff we’ve broken out the sale by genre, format and audience type.

Additionally, when shopping the sale, you’ll find lists broken out by titles you have in your collection already but are on hold as well as the titles you don’t yet own. You’ll even find specific subgenres broken out that save time shopping-wise and are perfect curated collection ideas. Romance has long been the most popular genre on OverDrive digital library websites so this is the perfect time to continue giving readers what they want while maximizing your budget. These savings only last until the 20th though, so don’t delay. Shop our February Romance Sale today.

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Join our special webcast to learn how to bring new users to your digital library

February 8, 2017 - 8:26am

A new year brings new opportunities to reach more users and increase circulation at your digital library. Make 2017 your best year yet with our free webcast full of ideas and resources for marketing your digital library. We’ll have two live sessions this Thursday at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm and there are a few spots still available so be sure to register today.

Join our marketing and outreach experts to learn how to:
• Increase your digital library’s presence in your community and reach new users of all ages
• Create OverDrive champions on your staff
• Sockal media ideas to keep readers coming back to your digital collection

Throughout this presentation we’ll offer examples from libraries with various community sizes and funding amounts to show you what is possible no matter what your budget is. Libraries around the world have increased their OverDrive circulation numbers by huge percentages using available tools on our Resource Center, being creative and thinking outside the box. We’ve collected their examples and have several ideas of our own to help you hit your goals in 2017. There’s still time so be sure to join us for this exciting presentation. Can’t make it? Be sure to visit our Past Webcasts tab on the Resource Center frequently to view our trainings anytime, anywhere.

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Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology: A masterclass in storytelling

February 6, 2017 - 6:24am

By: Kristin Milks, OverDrive Collection Development Analyst

Gods, heroes, drinking, battling, and a lot of clever brutes. Thus is Nordic mythology. Literature is informed by oral traditions of long ago like Homer’s works, religion, philosophy, and histories of the ancients. Most of us know a bit about Greek/Roman mythology due to the empire created by those peoples and the impact they made in the centuries they ruled, but what of the Norse? Other than some of D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths, I was relatively unaware of the Norse gods until I fell in love with JRR Tolkein and started finding familiar strains within his work to that of those old Norse tales. It was at that time that I dove into Padriac Colum’s Nordic Gods and Heroes. I never looked back, but instead found that these tales of the mighty and ultimately ill fated gods wove their way into other books I loved. Because these stories came from an older tradition, the books that pointed to these myths became more rounded in my eyes.

When W.W. Norton announced that Neil Gaiman was creating a new version of the Norse myths, the world stopped. Did you feel it too? Gaiman already has the chops as a master storyteller and so he is the perfect fit for the myths of the old vikings whose stories were passed down and (thankfully) collected on the page. Gaiman’s voice as storyteller does the glorious dance between present on the page (reminding the reader that someone is telling you this story) and passive (you are part of this story as it unfolds). Where Padriac Colum broke his volume of mythology into more individualized stories, Gaiman weaves the stories of Thor and Loki in Jotunheim, Loki’s underhanded doings and how he weasels his way out of them, and many more into single chapters. The best part of these myths is they don’t need to be read in a sitting. Because of the oral tradition these originate from, Gaiman has made sure that the chapters remain individualized while coming together to make a beautiful picture.

If you don’t know much about Nordic mythology, you are welcome to come feast with the gods of Asgard and open your horizons. Once you’ve consumed this mythology, you’ll find it hidden throughout literature. If you, like me, are already fond of these legends, let the Valkyrie bring you back to Valhalla where you will witness the gods play out their story for you once more, but with a different teller of their tales.

This book comes at the perfect time. Rick Riordan recently introduced kids to Magnus Chase, which is all about the gods of Asgard. So this is a perfect book for the budding fan of the Norse. Reader beware: Nordic gods and their tales are harsh. Strength, battle and cunning are undertones to all these myths, so make sure the uninitiated are prepared.

My only complaint is that many of the stories of the Norse gods are lost to history, so Gaiman is unable to write about them. What I would give to know more about Odin and the goddesses of Asgard. Please read this book. Debate if you prefer Gaiman of Colum and pass on the brutal, brilliant tales to a friend.

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Visit us at TCEA and learn about OverDrive Shared Collections

February 3, 2017 - 3:48pm

Budgeting for digital content remains a challenge in many schools. Individual schools often cannot launch a comprehensive digital initiative alone. To increase accessibility, OverDrive Education now offers shared collections, a collaborative eBook platform that enables two or more schools or districts to borrow eBooks and audiobooks via a single, easy-to-use website, with all purchased titles available to all participating institutions’ users.

For more information about Shared Collections and OverDrive Education for Schools, visit booth 723 at the TCEA annual conference in Austin, February 6-10, 2017.

What is a Shared Collection?

Joining a shared collection gives schools or districts increased access to more digital titles than they could purchase on their own, maximizing the benefits of these powerful reading and learning tools for students and educators. “For some schools, a shared collection is the most cost-effective way to introduce digital books to their teachers and students,” said Herb Miller, Director of Education, OverDrive Education. “Sharing resources among different schools or districts means that schools can offer greater accessibility to digital content. It’s a cost-effective way to grow a K-12 digital content collection, at about $1 or less per student.”

Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 (IU13), an education service agency supporting 22 public school districts in southern Pennsylvania, uses a shared collection. “It’s received a lot of positive attention, even at the superintendent level,” said Instructional Media and Technology Consultant Ken Zimmerman. He’s heard “story after story” of librarians reporting the emergence of “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 the digital collection offers. “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.”

How does a Shared Collection work?

OverDrive content specialists make title suggestions based on collective need and feedback, but individual schools make purchasing decisions. Books purchased for a shared collection are available to all participating schools or districts through the OverDrive digital reading platform. eBook and audiobooks are filtered by grade level to ensure the right titles are reaching the right students.

“It’s like a digital interlibrary loan model. Schools don’t have resources to ship and share traditional books. OverDrive shared collections allow schools to pool resources and gain instant, easy access to the eBooks that students need,” continued OverDrive’s Miller.

For more information about OverDrive Education or shared collections, visit OverDrive.com/schools.

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