Hutchins leads in the digital library change
Dr Jill Abell explores the revolution in digital learning in schools, and how The Hutchins School is carving the path.
The storm around e-reader devices and the new educational publishing e-commerce models are revitalising school libraries. Publishers’ competing standards and changing purchasing, licensing and lending or digital rights management add to the storm. Any school library using the major e-platforms such as OverDrive or Wheelers for delivering e-books, e-texts, audio-books, music and video can report efficiencies in resource management but also marked increases in reading across all age groups in both p-books and e-books. It is a great time for a new nexus between learning, libraries and leisure with an increase in reading for research and enjoyment, through engagement with library marketing and display of online resources for young people’s personalised devices. OverDrive is the industry leader with a catalogue of over 800,000 e-books and audiobooks, servicing over 19,000 libraries worldwide, lending more than 30 million books per year. It improves reading interfaces also for the world’s free e-books or classics in open library collections like Project Gutenberg.
The Hutchins School Libraries introduced the extension and digital library services via these two e-platforms because we wanted a 24/7 service for the whole School community. Some staff and students in The Hutchins School community were already using the public library OverDrive service, so it was a natural extension to add more educational titles and e-texts through the School’s own service.
Students demand rich media and video on demand, just as they use YouTube as their search engine of choice. OverDrive’s e-book lending platform enables students to download bestselling and classic audio-books, e-books, music and video from the website 24/7. They are downloading as well as using their traditional physical resources and services during the school day. Students, staff and parent reading groups have responded enthusiastically to the services. Teaching staff often request both print and digital versions of texts to assist struggling or reluctant readers, second language learners, as well as gifted readers, to have choice, to encourage both critical literacy and listening skills, to help busy students find time to read beyond the school day or to just engage them via the digitisation and social networking benefits of e-publications. The library staff add value to the service by enhancing the record discovery and retrieval of titles of interest for the students by ensuring that the cataloguing metadata provided by the e-book lending platform can be tagged to the new Australian curriculum online.
For their first time use, readers follow instructions on their library’s website to download two free software applications to their computer or laptop or smart device – OverDrive’s Media Console and Adobe Digital Editions. Then they can ‘check out’’ or download the digital items using their personal library login to their computer, laptop, netbook, tablet or supported mobile devices such as phones, the iPod®, Kindle® or Sony® Reader™! At the end of the lending period, audio-books and e-books automatically expire so there is no worry for late fees or overdue notices!
Later this year, OverDrive will launch OverDrive Read, an instant-access, web browser-based eReading technology that enables readers to enjoy e-books offline and online without first having to install software or activate a device.
When building your school’s eBook-lending platform, OverDrive takes into account the school’s branding and customer needs. The recommended starting collection, the ease of selection of Australian content and set texts, the informative newsletters as well as the publicity materials and social networking tools are first-class in assisting circulation. Staff can subscribe to the Overdrive blog, connect via Facebook, Twitter or follow on Pinterest to guide purchasing. An OverDrive dashboard account lets library staff monitor circulation traffic on a daily, monthly and annual basis, or monitor the most popular titles and review holds. OverDrive can reflect the Library management system ‘rules’ for borrower levels, total numbers of loans, reservations or managing overdue loans.
Dr Jill Abell
Director of Information Services & ICT