US Study Trip “Meeting” 8 – Patricia Skelly, ONEIDA in Utica

This was different to the other meetings, as Patricia and I discussed ebooks over a phone call, rather than my going to visit her library.  This was because I’d realised shortly before that it would have been a 4 hour train ride to get there – NY is a bit bigger than I’d thought!

Patricia introduced Overdrive to her school district earlier in the year and has found it successful so far.  They are mainly prioritising it for 6th-12th grade students, and as they’re buying in a consortium they’ve been able to purchase about 1,000 books.  They have a few audiobooks, but find ebooks much more popular.  Whilst there are many languages spoken in the district, so far they’ve only bought English language books.  Patricia said that she found the limitations of the single-user model frustrating, and was tempted because of this to move to Follett or Marshall Cavendish subscriptions (though these are only to view in a browser window, and are mainly non-fiction).

In terms of marketing, Patricia said that staff had mainly gone to promoting it to teachers, and making sure the English department knew how it worked – she commented that students didn’t generally need any help with it, that they were happy to just go off and explore.

It was very useful to talk to another librarian using Overdrive, and these are the next steps for us to ensure as many of our students as possible know about it and are using it;

  • Continue to add stock, making sure age ranges, genres, etc. all catered to
  • Do a quick survey on studywiz to find out if there would be interest in Spanish or Mandarin ebooks
  • Arrange to go to an English department meeting and have a handful of ipads so that teachers can download an ebook and see how it works
  • Email Overdrive to get the Gutenberg books available on maximum access
  • Promote Overdrive through both print and online opportunities
I also made a quick visit to one of the main Barnes & Noble stores, to look at both their stock selection and layout.  I was reassured to see their stock – I recognised most of the titles so I seem to be staying up to date with newly published fiction.  I really liked how open and attractive the entrance space was, and then how there were far more titles provided upstairs.  I think this is a good example for us to follow – we need to make sure our entrances are super clean, friendly and eye-catching.



About angellibrarian

Children's/teen librarian working in an international school in Thailand.
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