Providing free downloadable media has become a core service of public libraries everywhere, and for the past few years we’ve experimented with offering different kinds of platforms with varying degrees of success. Options have included Overdrive (also known as the Minuteman Digital Catalog), hoopla, and the Commonwealth eBook Collection with its three internal platforms (Axis360, EBL and BiblioBoard Library). This year we’ve made the choice to go all-in on the service that’s proven to be the most widely used and the most sustainable among them, and that service is Overdrive.
What does this mean? It means that going forward, available funds for e-content will be used to significantly increase the Overdrive Advantage collection for Arlington users, and that access to hoopla and the Commonwealth eBook Collections ceases effective August 1.
We know that many of you have grown to appreciate–dare I say love–hoopla and CEC, but we had to look at many factors including cost per use, amount of use, ease of use, and lending model sustainability. Through strategic collection development we will enhance the availability of popular items in Overdrive and thus reduce wait times, especially for audiobooks, the most popular of all downloadable media formats in Arlington. The Overdrive collection has already seen an infusion of titles as a result of the recent Minuteman Library Network decision to participate in title sharing among member libraries. That means Advantage titles from all Minuteman libraries eventually end up in the same pool (after immediate demand ceases), while continuing to give holds priority to the owning library’s patrons.
To soften the blow of hoopla and CEC going bye-bye, librarian Jenny Arch came up with a parable inspired by The Great British Baking Show (digital services = contestants)…
Sue: I have the wonderful job this week of awarding Star Baker. This digital service is very popular with many users and offers e-books, audiobooks, and video. Our Star Baker is…Overdrive!
Mel: Unfortunately, not all services can stay on the show, and a couple of them have to go. I have the very sad job of announcing who will be leaving us this year…hoopla and the Commonwealth eBook Collection. You did your best and we’ll always have such good memories of our time together. Bring it in for a hug!
If you have questions about Overdrive, please ask at the reference desk and we’ll be happy to help you get set up if you haven’t tried it before, or haven’t tried it recently. Alternatively, check out our E-book and E-reader Resource page. If your only experience with the Minuteman Digital Library dates back a few years, you’ll find it’s quite different than it used to be–and much easier to use.