How do you make the intangible tangible? What’s the best way promote your library’s digital collection to patrons visiting the physical branch? Many OverDrive partners have raised awareness for their eBook and audiobook collections by hanging posters around the library, passing out bookmarks at checkout with the URL for the digital collection, hosting patron training events, and setting up a display of compatible eReaders, tablets and MP3 players.
Recently, staff members at Sacramento Public Library came up with a clever way to connect its physical and digital collections: they place “Now in eBook Format!” stickers on the covers of corresponding titles in the physical collection. Electronic resources librarian Amy Calhoun explains how Sacramento PL has improved discovery of eBook titles among patrons visiting the library branches.
Some great things about eBooks: they don’t take up space on your shelves, they don’t need dusting, and you’ll never find one returned with a piece of lettuce being used as a bookmark. Despite the merits of eBooks, it can be difficult to promote books that only exist in the virtual world. Our library locations see thousands of visitors each year, and we want to reach those patrons with information about our eBook holdings. To do so, Sacramento Public Library is raising awareness for our OverDrive collection by giving our eBooks a physical presence in the library.
We place “Now in eBook Format!” medallion stickers on the book covers of new titles that the library owns in both book and eBook format. The medallion includes our web address, so patrons discover both the book and where to find our online library. For the first time, patrons can see a display of eBook titles in the real world, instead of only online!
We also created eBook Shelf Cards, which interfile with the books on the shelf, serving as a visual representation of the many titles in our eBook collection. The template is customizable, so librarians choose which eBooks they want to feature on their shelves.
At Sacramento Public Library, our patrons love eBooks, and we’re making those books easier to find than ever. Our statistics show the love: our eBook circulation has increased over 100 percent compared to our circulation at the same time last year. This November, we had 18,185 eBook checkouts, while last November we only had 8,377 checkouts.
These techniques remind our users that library books are available to them at all hours and from any location.
Sacramento Public Library won the “Inside the Library” category in our 2012 Outreach Program Contest.
Melissa Marin is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.
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