Last week, we announced the winners of the first ever OverDrive Challenge. The Challenge represented something new for us – if we set specific goals for every public library partner, would they rise to the occasion and try to meet those goals? The answer was a resounding yes! An outpouring of interest flooded in from more libraries than we have ever had participate in an OverDrive contest in the past.

Not only did we want to see our libraries boost circulation, we wanted to see how they would do it. Every library is different and we knew there wasn’t a one size fits all solution. We asked our successful libraries to share what they did to hit their highest circulating month ever and thought we’d share a sampling of some of the diverse responses we received. Maybe you can find a new strategy to use at your own library!

Get every staff member involved

“The campaign demonstrated what a difference staff awareness of (and confidence with) the collection makes to circulation figures. At the beginning of the campaign, all staff received an email with some key benefits of our OverDrive collection that they could use as talking points with customers. In addition, all staff who had not yet tried downloading OverDrive eBooks were encouraged to set themselves the aim of using the service themselves in June. The response to this was positive: as a result of browsing our collection and reading the eBooks they had selected, some staff have since followed up with suggested titles for our collection!” – Athina M, Monash Public Library Service

“The circulation staff really got involved in telling people about the challenge. For us, we didn’t do anything particularly clever but used enthusiasm to encourage people to use eBooks and eAudio for the first time.” – Marlene J, Municipal Library Consortium of St. Louis County

odchallenge1“We had a Nook class with an employee from Barnes & Noble. We used this opportunity to educate not only our patrons, but bring the whole staff up to speed. To keep track of our stats, we created a goal chart and as a reward for our entire staff working together to reach our goal, we had a staff ice cream party.” – Barbara T, Shasta Public Libraries

“We held one-on-one ‘eBook open houses’ to help beginners. I also give infinite credit to our front desk staff, who faithfully mentioned the challenge to patrons as they checked out print books. During this time, we had a patron come in to learn about eBooks. She’s a regular library supporter, and attends many of our author talks and other programs, although she says she hasn’t been able to read a book in several years because her eyes have gotten bad. After hearing about eBooks due to the buzz about the challenge, she bought a tablet and came in for help setting up.  When I showed her how to select the text size she prefers, she smiled so brightly!  She’s all ready to start enjoying her favorite authors again. eBooks are like a miracle for our large-print readers.” – Heather D, Hancock County Library System

Reward your users

“We held a public contest and partnered with our local Best Buy. The highest downloading customers received a Kobo Arc tablet or a $20 Best Buy gift card!” – Lynn Y, Ajax Public Library

“We used our content credit prize to buy eBooks for a new patron driven sponsored collection: Patron Recommended Titles – June 2014 Challenge Reward.” – Mark S, Beaver County Library System

“In addition to providing staff with talking points about our eBooks and promoting via email and social media, we ran a giveaway. We randomly picked winners for an eReader and shared the photos of the winners on our Facebook page.” – Joyce K, Yukon Public Libraries

“Patrons had the chance to win gift cards if they borrowed an eBook during June, which helped boost interest. Near the end of the month, we were so close to surpassing our goal that we offered a new incentive – we promoted on social media that if we reached our goal, the male staff members would dye their facial hair blue. We called it the “Blue Beard Promise” and our patrons got behind us and gave us the push we needed. You can see our blue beards in action in our YouTube video.” – Jason H, Bartholomew County Public Library


Check back tomorrow for more great ideas from our winning library partners!

Melissa Marin is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.

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