Now that I’ve finally recovered from jetlag, I’m excited to share a report from OverDrive’s recent visit to the United Kingdom. Karen Potash and I just returned from a six day trek through Europe to show love to our library partners across the pond.

We began in Dublin, Ireland, where we shared tea and apple tart with South Dublin County Libraries, after enjoying a tour of their newly renovated County Library Tallaght. Because South Dublin was among our earliest international partners (March 2007), our visit was long overdue. We discussed their growing success (averaging nearly 1,000 checkouts per month) and their plan to focus on audiobooks and eBooks. eBooks, as has been the trend across the OverDrive network, is their fastest growing format, which they expect will continue with the release of additional eBook readers in their market.

From Dublin, we traveled to York, England, where we hosted our first of two UK Library Partner Conferences. The National Railway Museum offered a beautiful setting for a full day of educational sessions and networking with our library partners in northern England. We then continued our journey by train along the beautiful English countryside to London, where we hosted our second UK Library Partner Conference at the Wellcome Collection.

Among both events, the ongoing theme was content, content, content. Almost all libraries in the UK launched with eBooks, and have found, in many cases, eBooks are outpacing audiobooks. This could attribute to the instant excitement and buy in for integrating Project Gutenberg eBooks into their OverDrive catalog. The groups did express the strong desire for more content with international distribution rights from publishers, which would provide access to even more well-known best sellers. We’re confident that OverDrive’s recent announcement welcoming Johanna Brinton to our team as EU Business Development Director will help us continue to add new suppliers.

Somewhere in the hustle and bustle of flights, trains, and taxis, Karen and I found some time to explore Dublin and London. I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland, where my great-great-grandmother originated from, and I was fascinated by the historical architecture of the city, narrow cobblestone streets, and the kind-hearted and welcoming Irish folk. The visit also solidified that there is a pub on every corner and people really do drink Guinness at noon. I’ve added it to my list of cities I must visit again. London was, as everyone had told me, beautiful and big. Public transportation, the Tube, made it easy to see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, House of Parliament, and Harrod’s department store. I was that tourist with a map in one hand and a camera in the other…and loved every minute of it.

To all of our UK partners that we met last week, thank you for joining our events. We hope to be back soon!

Shannon Lichty is the partner services manager for OverDrive.

Read more. Download the “UK Libraries Choose OverDrive” Case Study (PDF).

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