OverDrive’s Media Stations are great for digital collection discovery within the library, but Toronto Public Library has been getting creative with their use of the touchscreen kiosk. Maria Cipriano, Collections Librarian – Electronic Resources and self-proclaimed “eBook Diva,” has been taking their OverDrive Media Station on tour around area shopping malls to introduce the library’s eBooks and audiobooks to consumers who haven’t been to the library in a while.
Maria sets up the OverDrive Media Station around 11 a.m. right across from the mall’s food court. As long as she has an electrical outlet, her iPad and an internet connection, she’s good to go. Some consumers have seen TPL’s advertisements on the subway, in bus stops or in the newspaper and are curious to learn more. Others see the cover artwork flipping by as someone swipes the screen and are intrigued. Maria simply shouts out to some and encourages them to stop over for a demonstration. All are very happy to learn that browsing and borrowing eBooks is a free service from their library.
“The Media Station is really good because it does a great job of bringing out the best titles in the collection,” Maria says. “The large display, the ease of use, the touchscreen technology, the ability to sample and listen to the audio – people really enjoy that and it makes our collection look really good.”
Maria says that TPL has been aggressively marketing their eBook collection, stressing that it is free and always available. Taking the OverDrive Media Stations on the road is part of a long-term marketing strategy to raise awareness for their digital catalog, and so far, Maria says it’s working.
“We have a big drive here to get more people signed up with library cards, and especially the elusive male in his 20s and 30s,” she says. “And it’s been pretty good – I’ve gotten a number of people get library cards right on the spot.”
Maria also takes the OverDrive Media Station to staff meetings at select branches to get the dialogue started and get the staff members on board. With 99 branches, Toronto Public Library has a very large staff, and some are not as well versed in digital media as others. Taking the OverDrive Media Station to them and demonstrating its capabilities encourages the staff members to talk with their patrons about the library’s digital offerings with more confidence, and gets them excited about eBooks and audiobooks.
The city of Toronto also has a large book fair called Word on the Street, which sees about 100,000 visitors each year. Maria sees this as another fantastic opportunity to bring the OverDrive Media Station for the public to interact with and learn more about the library’s digital collection.
“We work really, really hard to get the [content] in there, and the tax payers are paying for it regardless, so I think it behooves us to make people aware that we have it,” Maria says. “It’s the best advertising for the collection because it’s constantly refreshed, and it’s a really amazing tool.”
Have you thought of creative ways to use your OverDrive Media Station, or other OverDrive products? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
OverDrive Media Stations are now available for public libraries worldwide. Contact your Collection Development Specialist to learn more or to order yours today.
Heather Tunstall is the Public Relations Specialist at OverDrive.