OverDrive Digital Library Blog

Penguin Random House pre-pub titles your users are sure to love

July 18, 2017 - 7:43am

Digipalooza is a mere two weeks away now and we are beyond excited to present the latest innovations from OverDrive as well as best practices from leading librarians with attendees. While we wait for the arrival of hundreds of librarians to Cleveland, we wanted to take a moment to thank one more of our wonderful sponsors. Penguin Random House has long provided some of the most exciting new releases and their titles fly off the digital shelves. Below you’ll find some of their hotly anticipated pre-pub titles available now in OverDrive Marketplace.

American Wolf by Nate Blakeslee
With novelistic detail, Nate Blakeslee tells the gripping story O-Six, a charismatic alpha female wolf in Yellowstone Park. She is beloved by wolf watchers, particularly renowned naturalist Rick McIntyre, and becomes something of a social media star, with followers around the world. But as she raises her pups and protects her pack, O-Six is challenged on all fronts: by hunters, who compete with wolves for the elk they both prize; by cattle ranchers who are losing livestock and have the ear of politicians; and by other Yellowstone wolves who are vying for control of the park’s stunningly beautiful Lamar Valley.

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks
A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor.

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak
A warm, wry, sharply observed debut novel about what happens when a family is forced to spend a week together in quarantine over the holidays.

Endurance by Scott Kelly
A stunning memoir from the astronaut who spent a record-breaking year aboard the International Space Station—a candid account of his remarkable voyage, of the journeys off the planet that preceded it, and of his colorful formative years.

Artemis by Andy Weir
The bestselling author of The Martian returns with an irresistible new near-future thriller—a heist story set on the moon. Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. Especially when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent. Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down.

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg
An emotionally powerful novel about three people who each lose the one they love most, only to find second chances where they least expect them. Wonderfully written and full of profound observations about life, The Story of Arthur Truluv is a beautiful and moving novel of compassion in the face of loss, of the small acts that turn friends into family, and of the possibilities to achieve happiness at any age.

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
Introducing an extraordinary female lawyer-sleuth in a new historical series set in 1920s Bombay! Inspired in part by a real woman who made history by becoming India’s first female lawyer, The Widows of Malabar Hill is a richly wrought story of multicultural 1920s Bombay as well as the debut of a sharp and promising new sleuth, Perveen Mistry.

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland
In pursuit of a Russian sleeper cell on American soil, a CIA analyst uncovers a dangerous secret that will test her loyalty to the agency—and to her family.

We’d like to thank Penguin Random House for their support of both Digipalooza and libraries as a whole.

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Modern Day Heroes on Nelson Mandela Day

July 17, 2017 - 3:25pm
By: Sasha Zborovsky, Marketing Intern.

July 18th is Nelson Mandela Day. We associate many words with him. Freedom. History. Equality. However, this is a day that, to me, invokes the word “hero.”

The Superhero

The term “hero” is subject to varying definitions. Personally, I have a hard time imagining the word outside the context of “super.” As a child, TV, comics, and movies taught me that heroes had supernatural powers that they subsequently employed to save the world from various aliens, perpetrators of evil magic, and criminals who stole obscene piles of cash from white-marble banks. On the other side of history, heroes are tunic wearing, demi-Gods like Hercules or Odysseus who travel to the Underworld or defeat an evil city from the inside of a horse. Of course, these people are priceless to our history and morality. Sometimes, it is best to use fictional heroes to convey messages of kindness and selflessness. But, when we lose ourselves in fiction, we sometimes forget the real heroes who perform daring, and selfless feats right in front of our own eyes.

Nelson Mandela

Today we celebrate a modern hero that—at least to my knowledge—does not fly or wear brightly colored tights that accent his cape. On Nelson Mandela day, the world reserves 24 hours to celebrate the legacy and accomplishments of this great man. This modern hero dismantled apartheid in South Africa, was a vigilante combatant against racism, and the first black head of state in his native country. He endured prison time, oppression, and racism for his country and for his people. He was a hero. The world will remember these actions for centuries to come.

Our Modern Heroes

Nelson Mandela is not our world’s only modern hero. On every corner of the Earth, we find individuals who sacrifice their time, money, and sometimes even their lives to save others. They are not magical, mythical, or saints from ages past. They are regular people from regular places. They deliver candy to German children during the Berlin airlift in the 1940s, or provide medical care for impoverished families in Haiti. Most importantly, modern heroes, just like fictional heroes, function through stories. They tell their tales in autobiographies or authors write non-fiction accounts of these heroes’ live. People spread the stories of modern heroes because they know that awareness is key to making a difference. And, YOU can be a modern hero too, simply by reading and subsequently spreading their messages.

Books by and about our modern heroes:

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
Candy Bomber

Mountains beyond Mountains

In My Hands: Memoirs of a Holocaust Rescuer

Silent Spring

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Freedom from Fear

The New Rulers of the World

Dear Zari: The Secret Lives of the Women of Afghanistan

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Kodansha expands the reach of their unique and beautiful Manga titles for OverDrive users

July 17, 2017 - 2:41pm
By: Sasha Zborovsky, OverDrive Intern Manga: A History

In the last century, Manga comics have become an integral part of not only Japanese, but also global literary culture. From the unmistakably unique illustrations, to countless genres ranging from sports to magical romances, it is no surprise that these stories permeate comic-cons and comic markets across the world. The term “Manga” directly translates to “whimsical pictures,” which perhaps best encompasses the magic behind this literary genre. Manga consists of both art and stories, a literary quality that makes every narrative more fun for all ages and genres. The combination of these two artistic forms is simply magical.

Manga on Your eReader

Back in the real world…These stories are not too far away. You don’t need to book a flight to Japan or attend the next Comic-Con convention in California to experience the magic of Manga though both are heavily recommended activities that you should still definitely pursue. Regardless, you can enjoy Manga from the comfort of your own home, as thousands of Manga titles are available on your eReader.

Kodansha and Manga

How is this possible? Well, Kodansha is a renowned publisher of Manga comics and KAM (Kodansha Advanced Media) is their United States subsidiary. Recently, the company also expanded title access to Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. This company has been integral to the world of Manga for over a century. Today, both in print and through OverDrive, they support some of the world’s most popular manga titles. In recent years, they have released popular titles such as Attack on Titan and Fairy Tail. In a culture of Manga and anime, Kodansha’s thousands of titles animate countless worlds: worlds where Colossal Titans plot to wipe out humanity and wizards establish guilds to organize their magical powers. But, like comics, with Manga, it seems as though the content never runs out. The stories simply continue from magazine to magazine with content available digitally on almost every platform. These comics are simultaneously serious and funny, magical and real. Manga has content to fit your every mood and whim.

Content

It is time for you to join worlds of spirits and alternate universes. Embrace anime kittens and souls that have a nasty habit of slipping out of their owner’s bodies. Join schoolchildren, as they fall in love and Holy Knights, as they to journey to find the Seven Deadly Sins. Find characters who spend their spare time playing the violin or learning ninja techniques. The symbolism and story of Manga transcend all cultures and borders.

OverDrive’s Recommendations

If you have never experienced the magic of Manga, here are 10 titles from Kodansha Advanced Media to start you on your Manga adventures. Or, if you’re already an avid fan of this literary genre, here are 10 more titles to add to your repertoire.

Attack on Titan
Fairy Tail
Noragami
Chi’s Sweet Home
My Little Monster
The Seven Deadly Sins
A Silent Voice
Say I Love You
Your Lie in April
10 Tsubasa Omnibus

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Books to read by the pool. Or in* it.

July 14, 2017 - 6:45am

By: Bethany Porter, Collection Development Specialist.

I rarely reread books throughout most of the year, but every summer I take it upon myself to reread a handful of my favorites. If you’re an educator or a librarian who works with kids throughout the school year, you may feel like reading a few adult-level books over the summer, too! I enjoy reading by the pool with a cold beverage in hand. Here are the titles I’m going to revisit this year:

  1. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett.

Have you read this yet?? It was published in 1990, and has a sort of cult following. This is the funniest book about the apocalypse you will ever read, I promise! I first read Good Omens 8 years ago. It taught me that “all tapes left in a car for more than about a fortnight metamorphose into Best of Queen albums.” I was, of course, listening to a Best of Queen album in my car during this time, and had the kind of “OH MY GOSH THIS IS WEIRD” moment that rarely happens while reading. This book will stay with you, and you’ll be reminded of it every time you hear Queen on the radio. I can’t think of anything better.

  1. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

David Sedaris is possibly my favorite essayist of all time. I was thrilled to be able to see him speak last October, so of course my obsession has increased just a little since then. I’ll be reading this collection of essays for the second time. I’m excited to revisit stories about his childhood in Raleigh, North Carolina. Sedaris is awkward and hilarious, and never quite fits in. He makes me feel better about my own weird idiosyncrasies. If you like NPR or funny stories, check this out.

  1. Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole (book 1 in Star Wars: X-Wing series)

Ok, I admit. I have not actually read these books yet. Last summer I read the Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zahn, so I’m going to try to expand my own personal Star Wars universe even further. I enjoy reading about some of my favorite characters, and while these novelizations are not the most literary works, I’m often surprised by how good they are. I have noticed that Star Wars novelizations are often well-written, characters are well-developed, and stories, while sometimes repetitive, are interesting. I’ll keep picking away at the virtual stack of (pre-Disney) expanded universe books. I could read 3 of these books every summer and still not finish them all!

  1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

I try to reread one of my favorite classics every summer. Last summer it was To Kill a Mockingbird, so it’s time for something older. I have recently read a slew of Jane Eyre retellings, short stories, and even a book about the Brontë sisters. I’ll probably start at the halfway point of this book – I’m not ashamed to admit that the first half of this book bores me to tears. The second half, on the other hand – I won’t be able to put it down. I love the excitement of the twist in the ending (I won’t spoil this 170-year-old book for you, just in case you haven’t visited it yet). I love that Jane is a strong, independent female narrator who is capable of making her own decisions about her life. Most of all, I love to hate Mr. Rochester.

Check out what other titles I might be caught with this summer.

*NOTE: If you’re planning on reading IN the pool, I recommend finding some paperbacks at your local library’s book sale. If you own a waterproof reading device, go ahead and lounge on your preferred pool float! If you DO own a waterproof device, I want to know what it is so I can get one, too! Let me know in the comments.

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Blackstone Audio has some huge audiobook titles coming you won’t want to miss

July 13, 2017 - 7:35am

Digipalooza isn’t the only thing coming this August. As the calendar moves closer to fall, we begin to turn our focus on some of the biggest new titles coming out and we’re excited to highlight some of Blackstone Audio’s audiobook releases coming soon. You can find these audiobooks in OverDrive Marketplace. The following is a write up by Amanda Casserly of Blackstone Audio, looking at some their new titles your users are sure to love.

Blackstone Audio is one of the nation’s largest independent audiobook publishers, dedicated to providing the best audiobook content available. We are proud to partner with OverDrive as the library digital solution for Blackstone and Hachette titles.

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter • August 8, 2017
“Karin Slaughter’s most ambitious, most emotional, and best novel” yet (James Patterson) is The Good Daughter, a blend of cold-case thriller and psychological suspense “written with a tenderness and empathy that will break your heart” (bestselling author Kathryn Stockett). This August 8 simultaneous release from the #1 New York Times bestselling author will appeal to fans of Michael Connelly and Harlan Coben.

The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd • October 3, 2017
An incredible story of dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice, The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd will appeal to fans of historical fiction with a strong female protagonist. Based on a true story, the novel follows the efforts of sixteen-year-old Eliza Lucas to save her family’s plantation in in 1739 by growing how value indigo for dye.

The Store by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo • August 14, 2017
Haunted by James Patterson and James O. Born • September 18, 2017
Fall features two new novels from #1 New York Times bestselling author James Patterson, offering the fast-paced suspense listeners have come to depend on. The Store follows writers Jacob and Megan Brandeis as they go undercover to take on the Store, a retail behemoth that has helped usher in an age of unparalleled convenience—but at what price? Haunted is book 10 in the wildly popular Michael Bennett series.

Paris in the Present Tense by Mark Helprin • October 3, 2017
Mark Helprin, the “last epic novelist” (Esquire) and the highly praised author of four New York Times bestselling novels, writes of a seventy-year-old man suddenly faced with major shocks to his long-term principles in Paris in the Present Tense.

Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand• October 3, 2017
New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand revisits the Quinn Family at the Winter Street Inn in this next installment of the successful series.

Seeing Red by Sandra Brown • August 15, 2017
With Seeing Red, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sandra Brown returns with another suspenseful, sexy thriller. Sure to keep listeners on the edge of their seats, this new audiobook will feature Brown’s signature combination of steamy romance and jaw-dropping plot twists.

It’s Not Yet Dark by Simon Fitzmaurice • August 1, 2017
In It’s Not Yet Dark, Simon Fitzmaurice, filmmaker, husband, and father of five, draws us into his inner world as he recounts his diagnosis with ALS and the decision to undergo a risky medical procedure to save his life. This amazing memoir was a #1 bestseller upon its release in Ireland and was recently adapted into a feature length documentary narrated by Colin Farrell. Alan Rickman heralded the book as “Beautifully written. Utterly life-affirming.”

We’d like to thank Blackstone Audio for their support of both Digipalooza and libraries as a whole.

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Foil hats and moon pies: alien party ideas for World UFO Day. Or any day, really.

July 12, 2017 - 12:50pm

By: Bethany Porter, Collections Development Specialist.

World UFO Day was earlier this month, so of course members of the OverDrive Education Team wanted to celebrate! Many of us used to be children’s librarians or school librarians before joining OverDrive, so where there is an excuse to pull out our silly hats and craft supplies, we take it!

The meal was at least as fun as the crafts. Why not plan a UFO-themed lunch with your students when the school year start? Consider serving:

• Intergalactic Tacos – extra points if you can find green tortillas!
• Fruit Rocket Skewers – a perfect, colorful, sweet treat.
• Moon Pies – my favorite! (there are TONS of dessert options. We’re lucky enough to have an artsy person on staff who treated us to Roswell “Do You Believe” cookies, as well as someone else who brought Martian Dirt Cake.
• Interstellar Soda – made even more exciting with colorful “moon rocks” (ice cubes).
We shared our own personal UFO stories (one time my family was vacationing in Michigan, and we ran into an Alien Abduction convention at the hotel.).

If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can read from an Alien/Space/UFO-themed book. Here are some of my favorites:

• Spaceships & Rockets – DK Readers are wonderful, especially for that early reader K-3 level. This one is a perfect nonfiction introduction to Spacecraft, and is a good way to start discussions about the difference between a UFO, an airplane, a spaceship, a shooting star, etc.

• My Teacher is an Alien by Bruce Coville – I loved Bruce Coville when I was in that elusive, hard-to-please 3rd-5th grade range. This series is just as delightful as I remember in his early 90s Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher. Even better, My Teacher is an Alien is the start of a series, so if your little extraterrestrials like this, you’ll be able to keep them entertained for a while!

• See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng – You’ll be charmed by 11-year-old Alex Petroski and his dog, Carl Sagan. Alex is obsessed with space, and is working to record his life on his iPod so that it can be released into space to show other lifeforms what life on Earth is like. See You in the Cosmos has been compared to books like Wonder by R. J. Palacio, and may be a good addition to Middle Grade collections looking for examples of compassionate characters.

• The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey – I know this one has already had its day, but it’s practically a YA classic now. I listened to the audiobook of this series, and I was glad to have listened during the middle of the day, instead of reserving these ones for late-night reading. This series is an excellent introduction to the darker, horror side of Science Fiction for teens.

Partners can check out our other UFO-themed books on Marketplace:

Finally, I did mention how much I enjoy silly crafts, right?? We made alien-eye headbands. Here are a few of the attendees! (I’m the tall one in the middle).

Have suggestions for more good books? Let me know in the comments!

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Baker Publishing Group’s hottest titles coming out this fall

July 12, 2017 - 7:27am

Digipalooza is officially less than a month away which means that soon the center of the library world will be downtown Cleveland. We’re excited to have our friends at the Baker Publishing Group joining us for the conference and so we wanted to share some great titles from their collection coming this fall. Whether you’re attending Digipalooza or not you’ll want to add these hot new titles to your collection:

 

The Proving by Beverly Lewis – Having left the Amish life for the English world, Amanda Dienner is shocked when she learns that her mother has passed and left her Lancaster County’s most popular Amish bed-and-breakfast. The catch is she has to run it herself for one year, acting as hostess. Amanda accepts the terms, but coming home to people she left behind won’t be easy.

 

Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon – Detective Colin Flynn investigates a tragic death that’s been linked to a grieving woman with apparent memory loss, but it quickly becomes clear there’s more to the case—and the woman—than meets the eye.

 

Where We Belong by Lynn Austin – Despite Victorian society’s strict rules for women, Rebecca and Flora Hawes’ desire for adventure has led them to the Sinai Desert. Accompanied by their young butler and their maid, the sisters search for a biblical manuscript.

 

Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen – In the confines of Ivy Cottage, friendships thrive, romances blossom, and mysteries await! Gentlewoman Rachel Ashford has moved into Ivy Cottage with the two Miss Groves, where she discovers mysteries hidden among her books.

 

The Return by Suszanne Woods Fisher – As the Amish settle in America, Tessa wishes Hans would notice her. When tragedy strikes—close to home and close to her heart—she discovers the cost of true love.

 

The Probing: Leviathan, The Mind Pirates, Hybrids, the Village by Frank Peretti and Bill Myers – The Harbingers team investigates more mysterious and fascinating supernatural occurrences in Hollywood, a small town in North Carolina, and elsewhere. Can they keep the growing darkness at bay? This fast-paced and ongoing collection reads like your favorite TV series, with each linked episode written by a talented author.

 

The Promise of Dawn by Lauraine Snelling – In 1910, Signe, her husband, and their boys emigrate from Norway to Minnesota, dreaming of one day owning a farm of their own. But the relatives they’ve come to stay with are harsh and demanding. As Signe’s family is worked to the bone to repay the cost of their voyage, can she learn to trust God through this trial and hold on to hope for a better future?

 

Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey – When a terrorist investigation leads FBI agent Declan Grey to a closed immigrant community, he turns to crisis counselor Tanner Shaw for help. Despite the tension between them, he needs the best of the best on this case. Under imminent threat, they’ll have to race against the clock to stop a plot that could cost thousands of lives—including theirs.

 

House on Foster Hill by Jamie Jo Wright – Fleeing a stalker, Kaine Prescott purchases an old house sight unseen in Wisconsin, which turns out to have a dark history: A century earlier, an unidentified woman was found dead on the grounds. As Kaine tries to settle in, she learns the story of her ancestor Ivy Thorpe, who, with the help of a man from her past, tried to uncover the truth about the death.

 

All She Left Behind by Jane Kirkpatrick – Jennie Pickett is a natural healer, but her dreams to become a doctor in 1870s Oregon put her at odds with the world around her. As she struggles to keep her dream alive, she finds that the road to fulfillment winds past love, heartache, and plenty of surprises along the way.

 

We’d like to thank the Baker Publishing Group for their support of both Digipalooza and libraries as a whole.

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Things to Do in Cleveland During Digipalooza

July 11, 2017 - 8:00am

By: Briana Johnson-Sims, OverDrive Training Specialist

What’s hot in Cleveland this August? Digipalooza 2017, of course! Our conference is jam-packed with great events, including a keynote from Cokie Roberts, evening socials, and morning yoga. But there’s even more for those who choose to come early and stay late!

Arriving early on Wednesday? Stop by East 12th and Walnut street at lunchtime for Walnut Wednesday food trucks and sunshine. That should tide you over until our evening event at Punch Bowl Social. Punch Bowl takes you into the heart of Cleveland’s reimagined Flats neighborhood, where you can play games, enjoy music, eat food, and more, right by the water.

On Thursday evening, Digipalooza lands at East 4th street, where lights are always strung and some of Cleveland’s best restaurants live. We’ll take you to the House of Blues for some sweet Southern cuisine and live music.

Did I mention that Cleveland is known for having some of the best food in the nation? Check out Happy Dog to see how many toppings you can fit on one hot dog, visit Slyman’s for delicious corned beef, or Melt Bar & Grilled to see all the ways you can make cheese awesome.

Between meals, get immersed in Cleveland’s renovated downtown see the sights. The Cleveland Public Main LibraryTerminal Tower Observation Deck, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Playhouse Square, which hosts the largest outdoor chandelier, are all within walking distance of the Hilton Cleveland Downtown. All of this and more is waiting for you in Cleveland when you attend Digipalooza this August.

Digipalooza wraps up Friday, so that means you have the weekend to explore! Cleveland’s famous West Side Market features 100 vendors perfect for breakfast or lunch and is nestled in Ohio City where you’ll find shops, pop up stands, local restaurants and a number of Cleveland breweries. Baseball fan? Make some time to see the Cleveland Indians play the New York Yankees at Progressive Field. The series runs August 3rd through August 6th, so that means there will be plenty of opportunities to check out the Tribe and some of Cleveland’s best treats all at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.

The world renowned Cleveland Museum of Art is a perfect way to see some of Cleveland’s culture and is close to Severance Hall, our gorgeous concert hall that’s home to the famous Cleveland Orchestra. Speaking of culture, The Cleveland Cultural Gardens offer serenity and beauty, allowing you to stroll through 29 different gardens that represent different cultures from around the world. Looking for even more to do during your stay? Send your Account Specialist an email before you arrive or just ask one of our friendly staff members while you’re here! We can’t wait to share not just the latest innovations and tips with you but our city as well. 

 

If you haven’t registered for Digipalooza yet, what are you waiting for? There’s still room to register at http://digipalooza.com.

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Summer PD webcast: The Student User Experience

July 9, 2017 - 6:00pm

Looking for a quick, simple way to increase your professional development time this summer? Register for our July OverDrive student user experience webcast.

This 30-minute session will introduce the fastest way to get your students reading eBooks and listening to audiobooks from your digital library website, and includes a demonstration of creating and exporting notes and highlights. We will also discuss accessibility features such as contrast settings and our OpenDyslexic font, and will share some great resources for talking about OverDrive with your school community as a whole.

Can’t make the session live? No problem! Register anyway and we will send you a link to the recording and a PDF copy of the slides to keep as part of your professional toolkit. Get a head start on the school year and learn more about your OverDrive powered website without spending hours in front of your computer.  Register for one of the 30-minute sessions today!

The Student User Experience
Monday, July 17, 2017
3:30 PM and 7:00 PM (ET)

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Reading green

July 6, 2017 - 3:09pm

By: Sasha Zborovsky, Marketing Intern.

For avid readers, changing seasons mean only one thing: in winter, one reads inside and in summer, one reads outside. As much as I love to pair my eBook with a warm fireplace and a mug of hot chocolate, there is something rather magical about reading outside. After all, it is always an adventure to wander out of the house, find a tree to sit under or climb into and read. In fact, such an adventure in nature is comparable to the adventures of your favorite literary characters.

Nature in our literature

Throughout history, countless authors found and still find inspiration in the beauty of forests, gardens, and wildlife. Not every writer imitates Henry David Thoreau and lock themselves in a cabin in the woods hoping to connect with nature. Most, though, for a few phrases anyway, ponder the beauty of nature. William Butler Yeats explores love and politics through Ireland’s natural landscapes. Mary Lennox uses her uncle’s secret garden to not only teach her cousin how to walk, but also to close a rift between her family members. Rachel Carson saved our planet from DDT with her novel The Silent Spring and Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax teaches children about the environment from the moment they learn to read. Nature encompasses every literary genre and it is our job to protect this priceless piece of inspiration.

The environment in our schools

In the last 20 years, schools have steadily begun to introduce the environment as an integral piece of their curricula. Society closely watched the development of environmental studies, environmental history, and environmental engineering as concrete areas of study. Even here at OverDrive, we constantly work to make the company more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Together, we strive to save our planet. However, sometimes, literary folk feel excluded from a seemingly purely scientific effort to protect our environment. Well, it is time to give readers and writers a role in this campaign. Saving the environment is not exclusively about intricate and simultaneously terrifying graphs that probably depict carbon dioxide levels or oil concentrations. Readers, too, can help by Reading Green.

The Reading Green campaign

Humans learn best through stories. Stories builds relationships and connections and thereby, help audiences understand why something or someone is important. Countless fiction and nonfiction novels explore the paramount significance of nature. They reminder readers of our planet’s beauty and health. In an effort save our planet, we must not only read about nature, but also share stories from and about nature with the people around us. Read books that investigate the consequences of a waterless planet or delve into the jungles to study never-before-seen creatures. And, if you feel up to it, share your own story. Let flowers, gardens, and clouds inspire your literary choices. Because both the world and our environment needs readers.

P.S: Never forget that reading on your eReader saves paper

Here are ten books to get you started on your Reading Green campaign:

  1. The Call of the Wild
  2. The Windup Girl
  3. The Monkey Wrench Gang
  4. Ishmael
  5. Oryx and Crake
  6. Odds Against Tomorrow
  7. The Lorax
  8. Moby Dick
  9. Arctic Rising
  10. The Silent Spring

To purchase these titles and more for your collection, visit Marketplace.

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60 library systems are on pace to hit one million digital checkouts with OverDrive in 2017

July 6, 2017 - 2:18pm

Last year, a record 49 different OverDrive digital library collections hit one million checkouts and we’re excited to announce that it looks like, once again, a new benchmark will be set. Records are meant to be broken, after all. In 2015, the number of library systems hitting one million checkouts was 33 and two years later we’re within range of doubling that amount. When we reached the end of June, 60 digital collections had surpassed 500,000+ circulations and another ten are just off that pace. In fact, 15 of them have already passed the one million checkout threshold.

The Million Checkout milestone is both a great achievement and a marketing tool for our library partners. Many libraries boost their marketing efforts during the holidays to promote the service and reach that goal. Neighboring libraries have even created friendly competitions to see who can circulate the most eBooks, audiobooks and other digital content. These events often spark inspiration for other libraries to say, “Next year that will be us!” While we love this gumption to plan for next year, there’s still time to reach new heights in 2017.

If you’re working on breaking records at your library, be sure to access our Resource Center often for printable marketing materials, social media posts and tips and tricks from our Training Team. Try creating new curated collections on your website to keep circulating your available content, and be sure to take advantage of our frequent Marketplace sales to maximize your budget. If you have an “out of the box” idea, simply email your Account Specialist and they can help you execute it to hit your goals. We’ll continue to share the best ideas over the coming months.

Regardless of what your goals are, we recommend visiting Marketplace to view your circulation reports and compare them to last year. As always, your OverDrive reps are happy to help you add new content, curate lists and market your collection to help assure libraries of all sizes are smashing records by year’s end.

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Resource Center Spotlight: New Student Fliers

July 5, 2017 - 9:53am

By: Christina Samek, Marketing Specialist.

I am a huge fan of bright colors. I love pops of red, blue, and green. My design aesthetic is very much the brighter the better because that’s what catches the eye! And that’s the exact approach we took with our brand NEW school fliers. We’ve introduced fun new themes like school supplies, a new elementary school option, and my personal favorites: a suite focused on the idea that adventure begins with eBooks and audiobooks…that adventure begins for all of us when we start reading.

The ‘Adventure’ fliers feature outer space, a lovable dragon, and a pirate’s treasure map! These are great options to feature in your school library and around school to catch your younger students’ eyes. You could also send these home with parents (who love adventure too!)

Our new elementary flier is similar to our existing school suite but we’ve added brighter colors and more age appropriate jacket covers featuring some of our most popular content. Note, we can swap out any jacket cover by request on any of the print pieces you see on the Resource Center.

Lastly, our school supplies flier is geared toward all readers in your school community! Everyone needs school supplies when heading back for a brand new year.

Download them from the Resource Center, today!

 

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Voting for our Curated Collection Naming Contest is now open

July 5, 2017 - 8:18am

At the beginning of June we announced our OverDrive Curated Collection naming contest and, after receiving loads of wonderful entries, we’re excited to share that voting is now open! Simply click this link to see full list of all entries, sorted by category, and choose your three favorite collection names. To make sure the contest is fair we have omitted the library names and choices will be randomized each time the survey is shown. Each voter can take the survey once, selecting up to three of your favorite options per category. Voting will run through the end of July.

When visiting the survey, you’ll find the responses broken out into five categories: Adult, Kids, Teens, Seasonal, and Audio. As a reminder, winners will be given content credit  for OverDrive Marketplace to spend on growing those beautifully named collections. There will be a first and second place prize winner for each of the 5 categories, listed above. First place winners will receive a $500.00 content credit and second places winners will receive a $250.00 content credit. Official rules will apply. We will announce winners at Digipalooza 2017. If you are unable to attend we’ll notify you via email following the conference.

In addition to helping several libraries increase the offerings in their digital collection, we also invite you to take a look at these curated lists to get some ideas for your own OverDrive digital library! As a reminder, we’re hosting a live training this month all about curating and you can always visit our Resource Center for more great tips and ideas to make your collections unique and fun. Vote today for the OverDrive Curated Collection naming contest and get some great new ideas for your library!

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ISTE’s best and busiest

July 2, 2017 - 8:45am

More than 700 people attended the OverDrive Education’s in-booth sessions at ISTE earlier this week, the busiest we’ve seen. Particularly popular was Using public domain eBooks for the public good: learning with Project Gutenberg. Partner Lisa Kulka, Library Specialist at Northside ISD, walked attendees through Project Gutenberg, the volunteer effort to digitize and archive cultural works. Attendees were thrilled that OverDrive supports free access to many classics, freeing up budget for contemporary eBooks.

In a 101 session on Monday, Becky Calzada, District Information & Library Services Coordinator, Leander ISD, offered tips on how to engage students and staff with digital content. A digital libra ry is perfect for customizing curriculum, lesson planning and to get students reading. Once students engage with reading, they just need some guidance before they are hooked.

The more students read, the more likely they are to think critically, learn independently and develop a lifelong love of reading. Research shows that using a variety of texts helps students develop strategies to understand, analyze and synthesize information. So many attendees were curious how one OverDrive Education partner increased reading rates by 200 percent through the district’s digital reading platform. Faye Hagerty, Director of Library Services at North East ISD, shared her experience and how eBooks and audiobooks serve her students no matter their reading level, interest or pace.

So, what’s new?

Over the three-day show, OverDrive booth attendees learned about the flexibility of a digital reading platform, including support for differentiated instruction, English Language Learning, Hi-Lo literacy instruction and blended learning. Educators were especially interested in our shared eBook and audiobook collections, our most flexible lending model. In another exciting development for K-12 readers, we announced our upcoming reading app, designed specifically for schools!

Our favorite ISTE highlights

EdWeek presented on Tech Titans Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft. We learned about the shift in the device market in edtech, and where the most growth is expected over the next few years.

EdSurge offered their take on the companies, products and news from the ISTE exhibition hall that made their ears perk up. Read their round up of what edtechies should look out for in the coming year.

In the increasingly connected classroom, schools require students to access curricula via their personal (BYOD) or school-issued (1:1) devices, ushering in a virtual minefield of distractions. As such, we appreciate NetRef’s tips to keep students on task while reading ot doing their other classwork.

Seven Steps for Reducing Classroom Internet Distractions

1.Provide students and parents clearly detailed Internet use guidelines.
2.Use software that does not require installation on student devices.
3.Generate individual daily, weekly or monthly Internet use reports to help encourage good habits.
4.Teach students how to access online learning and research tools.
5.Utilize classroom management systems that allow at-a-glance optics of real-time student Internet activity.
6.Connect the dots between responsible online and offline behavior … values are the same everywhere.
7.Implement easy-to-use EdTech that allows teachers to manage access from a single point.

What was your favorite part of ISTE? Let us know in the comments.

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OverDrive Aligns with Global Tech Leader

June 30, 2017 - 10:50pm

Rakuten, one of the leading technology companies in the world, is well known in many countries for empowering society through technology and innovation. Based in Tokyo, Rakuten has 14,000 employees, operations in 29 countries, and provides services to a billion users.  Rakuten has been named to the Forbes list of “World’s Most Innovative Companies” every year since 2012.

As part of its continued success and growth, Rakuten has acquired a number of companies in the U.S. and across the globe, including OverDrive in 2015.  Since then, there has been no disruption in how we’ve provided the services you need – in fact, we have helped our global network of libraries and schools reach record numbers of new users and checkouts.

We are proud to be part of a global family of unique and complementary services, and are already enjoying access to world-class capabilities in technology, customer engagement and exciting innovations.  We are working closely with many of our sister companies, and Steve Potash was appointed as an executive officer of the parent company.  As part of a unified branding strategy, OverDrive is changing our corporate brand name to Rakuten OverDrive on July 1 to align with other Rakuten companies in the U.S. (such as Rakuten Ebates) and around the world (e.g., Rakuten Kobo, Rakuten Viber). You will see this first on our main websites, overdrive.com and company.overdrive.com.

Our day-to-day service to you and your users has not changed, and will not change.  This change applies to our corporate brand only. It will not impact product names, such as the OverDrive App, OverDrive Marketplace, OverDrive Education, or Libby, and our legal name will also remain unchanged:  OverDrive, Inc.  We are honored to remain the market leader in delivering eBooks and audiobooks to libraries and schools worldwide, and we will continue to uphold our core principles of delivering world-class service and achieving a vision of A World Enlightened by Reading.

If you have any questions about this change, please contact your Account Specialist.  We look forward to continuing to serve you and your users as we always have.

We remain committed to preserving privacy and confidentiality for your users, which is equally important to Hiroshi Mikitani, founder and CEO of Rakuten. Mickey, as he is known, will welcome attendees to Digipalooza via video in August, and reinforces this commitment:  “To help you to achieve your important mission, I along with Steve and the OverDrive team, am personally committed to serving you and your readers with world-class services and technology.  We pledge to maintain your trust and confidence by preserving your readers’ privacy and confidentiality with the most advanced security and processes.  We hold sacred the trust you’ve established with your readers, and we are dedicated to upholding this trust in all that we do.”

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Looking back on the ALA Annual conference in Chicago

June 29, 2017 - 12:42pm

Last weekend, several members of Team OverDrive spent four days in Chicago meeting with hundreds of librarians from around the country. The ALA Annual meetings offer an opportunity to interact with publishers, authors, librarians and the decision makers that help shape both the digital reading landscape and the library world as a whole. While in The Windy City, we presented the latest innovations from OverDrive including Libby, our new one-tap reading app, as well as our latest lending model options and how libraries can work with their community schools to increase the value of their digital collection.

Speaking of Libby, librarians loved the elegant, new user experience as well as the simplicity of being able to jump instantly from library collections to the books your reading and your shelf of checkouts and holds. They were excited about the built in curation and filtering options as well as the ability to toggle instantly between library cards and differing library collections. Team members showed Libby off on a life-sized iPhone to the delight of our library partners. Our CEO, Steve Potash, even posed with Libby and a librarian NAMED Libby.

Steve with Libby and Libby

 

The event was full of momentous occasions including a brief visit with the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden (shown above) as well as our most recent Big Library Read author, Marie Benedict, stopping by to chat and pause for a photo opp with her book The Other Einstein. Our Professional Book Nerds came to Chicago as well to interview authors including Pulitzer Prize winners Colson Whitehead and Matthew Desmond as well as Fiona Davis and #1 New York Times bestselling YA author Kerri Maniscalco. You can listen to their latest episode below to hear all about their adventures in Chicago and get some book recommendations.

Conferences like ALA enable us to not only show off where digital reading is heading through our latest technologies and innovations, it also brings wonderful feedback from our library partners. Another conference is quickly approaching that we’d love to have you join us here in Cleveland for Digipalooza and we still have a few registration spots open. Register today for three days of education, networking and fun!

Marie Benedict, author of the most recent Big Library Read selection The Other Einstein, stops by the booth

Our Professional Book Nerds interviewed some incredible authors including Colson Whitehead, Matthew Desmond, Kerri Maniscalco and Fiona Davis

 

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10 Books for Forgetful Souls on National I Forgot Day

June 28, 2017 - 9:44am

By: Sasha Zborovsky, OverDrive Marketing Intern

National I Forgot Day was earlier this week, so naturally, OverDrive forgot to post a blog to commemorate this often-overlooked holiday.

The Holiday

National I Forgot Day celebrates all the times we forgot to wish our third cousin a Happy Birthday, missed a doctors appointment, or left our work laptop on the dining room table, as we rushed out the door into early morning traffic. This day is special because instead of meeting our forgetfulness with shame, we accept it. Their is a certain pride in losing one’s possessions because afterwards, one gets to find them. On a deeper level, this holiday is a chance to remember the good memories we usually forget and forget the bad memories we tend to remember.

With regard to reading, book nerds must use this holiday to embrace literary forgetfulness.

Literary Forgetfulness

According to an improvised combination of my personal invention and the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of literary forgetfulness involves the failure to remember anything concerning the writing, study, or content of literature.
Literary forgetfulness is a common affliction in summer. For example, I am currently “forgetting” to work on my summer reading assignment (don’t tell my history professor). We forget the name of that one book the woman from work recommended last Tuesday or the name of our supposed “favorite author.” How embarrassing. We read about characters who fall victim to amnesia, forget the way to their grandmother’s house, or just can’t seem to retain their memories for more than 24 hours. However, in its finest form, literary forgetfulness impacts the reader. In the company of a good book, we forget the awkward conversation we had with our boss that morning, and the interminable list of things we need to do by next Thursday. It’s a time to forget your own life and instead, observe a character forget theirs.

Entertainment of Forgetting

There’s something oddly entertaining about “forgetting.” We enjoy forgetful characters because they’re funny. We laugh when Samuel Beckett’s Vladimir and Estragon can’t remember where and when to meet Godot. Forgetful characters are also sad. After all, we cry when Nicholas Sparks describes an Alzheimer-afflicted Allie who cannot remember her husband Noah. Forgetful characters create an air of mystery for their readers, as both protagonist and audience search through a murky past for an ounce of clarity. Forgetting allows readers to explore philosophical aspects of memory and consciousness. So, it’s time to forget about the outside world and lose yourself in a book.

Here are a ten books about memory and forgetting to keep you company on the day AFTER National I Forgot Day!

The Housekeeper and the Professor

Waiting for Godot

What Alice Forgot

The Buried Giant

The Wasteland

Before I Go to Sleep

The English Patient

The Road

Hard Boiled Wonderland the End of the World

And the last book is…hmm…what was the…hmm.

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Resource Center Spotlight: Table Tents

June 28, 2017 - 6:10am

By: Christina Samek, OverDrive Marketing Specialist

If you are like me, you always reach for the table tent or table talker at a restaurant. Because, most often, it features the dessert menu. The dessert menu is the best part of any dining experience especially if it features bread pudding…getting off track here. In short, a table tent is an eye-catching way to entice your readers to explore more reading options like say…enhancing their reading experience with OverDrive!

Take Washington County School District for example. They placed table tents all through out their district libraries. Despite the magnificent view of the mountains in the background, it’s hard to miss these sitting on every table. It’s a fantastic way to have a physical reminder of the digital collection in a high-traffic space!

You can create your own materials like Washington County did or you can easily download a customizable template from the Resource Center.

Just download, print, and fold!

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2017 Penguin Random House Digipalooza Scholarship winners announced

June 26, 2017 - 10:30pm

As we get closer to Digipalooza (August 2-4, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio), our program is falling into place, spaces are quickly filling up and Team OverDrive is busy gearing up for the best conference yet – and we want to see you there!

Conference partner Penguin Random House generously awarded 10 scholarships to cover the cost of registration to Digipalooza. Big congratulations go out to the winners of the 2017 Penguin Random House Digipalooza scholarship:

• Jenny Combs, Southwest Michigan Library Cooperative (MI)
• Karen Drevo, Nebraska OverDrive Libraries (NE)
• Danielle Fox, Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative (MI)
• Robin Helenthal, Alliance Digital Media Library (IL)
• Kate Mutch, Virtual Library of Wyoming (WY)
• Kelley Richards, New York Public Library (NY)
• Deborah Roy, Northeast Indiana Digital Library (IN)
• Valerie Kocin, The Ohio Digital Library (OH)
• Joseph Wasukanis, Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MI)
• Nichole Shabazz, Cleveland Public Library (OH)

Scholarship winners are invited to an exclusive cocktail event at Digipalooza with the sponsor to celebrate this honor. Thanks to our conference partner Penguin Random House for making this scholarship opportunity possible and thank you to everyone that took the time to enter.

Digipalooza registration is still open but this is your last chance! Calling all OverDrive library and school partners to join us for insightful conference sessions, delicious meals, and fun special events on Wednesday and Thursday night at hot spots around Cleveland.

Space is limited so register soon! Learn more about the program, networking opportunities, and registration at http://digipalooza.com.

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Learn content curation best practices with OverDrive’s latest monthly webcast

June 23, 2017 - 7:43am

By: Briana Johnson-Sims, OverDrive Training Specialist

OverDrive’s monthly webcast series continues this July with the webcasts you need to get started with OverDrive and take your digital collection to the next level. We invite you to join us the second week of July for Shopping for Titles in Marketplace, The End User Experience, and our newest topic, Curating Collections in Marketplace.

 

Curating collections does more than earn you content credit from OverDrive, it increases digital circulation! You’ll want to join us to learn how easy it is to create automated and hand-picked lists to promote new, popular, and unique content. After all, if you keep your content fresh and varied, users will return to your digital collection again and again.

 

Curating Collections in Marketplace will be held Thursday, July 13th, but before you attend, you can learn the basics of building your collection and using your digital library on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. All webcasts in this series will be held at 11am Eastern Time. Register here!

 

As always, our webcasts will be recorded and archived on OverDrive’s Resource Center under Staff Training > Past Webcasts, so be sure to check there for any session you’re unable to attend. Looking to catch up on what you missed last month? Visit Past Webcasts today to meet Libby and learn about the most common Marketplace Reports. We hope to see you there!

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