Public libraries’ and school libraries’ audiences vary completely. Public libraries have an audience that is captive, one in which patrons come to the library specifically to use the resources available to them. Public libraries don’t ever have to convince their patrons to read, it’s just a matter of getting them the materials in a convenient fashion.
For schools, OverDrive recognizes that the audience is rarely a captive one. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of students will ever choose to enter the library on their own accord. This is a sad fact, but a fact nonetheless. To truly incorporate reading into a student’s day-to-day life, educators often have to think outside of the box.
Luckily for me, I hold a position where thinking outside of that box isn’t only encouraged, it’s expected. This means that while helpful print materials and communication templates like those available on our School Online Marketing Kit are a nice jumping-off point, ingenuity and imagination must also be used while putting together outreach plans.
In the spring I began sending out marketing newsletters once a month to our school partners offering cost-effective and simple ideas to keep students engaged. You can find past months newsletters on the School Marketing Kit by clicking the Monthly Newsletter Archive tab. One of the great surprises that came from this newsletter is that schools have begun providing me with some of their own creative outreach ideas. Feel free to borrow:
- Read along on Interactive White Boards: English teachers have been using eBooks on their Interactive White Boards (IWBs) to discuss specific forms of writing. An example: discuss foreshadowing while having Of Mice and Men up on the IWB for your students to read aloud and mark up. You can use the functionalities in Adobe Digital Editions including search, bookmarking and note taking to enhance this experience.
- Traveling readers: A school in Florida provides MP3 players for their track and cross country teams. This enables them to listen to novels during long runs and bus trips. This idea can be expanded to any long trips your classes are taking. Audiobooks can be played over the speakers of the bus or students can read on their eBook devices en route to a field trip.
- Get parents involved: Teachers and administrators at a district in New York have been demonstrating their OverDrive service during in-service days as well as during PTA meetings to parents. A great pairing with this idea is to provide handouts to the parents found on the School Online Marketing Kit.
- Capitalize on audiobooks: Many ESL classes in schools across Texas have been using OverDrive audiobooks to help students better understand language structure and pronunciation. The benefits of using audiobooks are well documented; by listening to professionally produced recordings, students are able to properly learn sentence structure and flow greater than they could by reading a text alone.
- Access from home…across the globe: A school with a number of foreign exchange students has been pulling their summer reading lists from their OverDrive Maximum Access titles to allow for easier access, regardless of what country the student is from. This benefit isn’t limited only to students from abroad. Both teachers and students can access their ‘Virtual Branch’ anytime, anywhere. Whether they’re on vacation across the country or simply at home at the end of the day, these wonderful titles are just a few clicks away!
If you’d like to learn more about how you can implement the OverDrive service into your curriculum, or if you have a story about your own creative applications, you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you, and make sure to look out for part two of this post, coming in December!
Adam Sockel is a marketing and outreach associate at OverDrive.
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