Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library has kicked its digital initiative into high gear, thanks to a $350,000 grant from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. With the new funding, the 22-branch library system is expanding the selection of eBooks and audiobooks available in its OverDrive-powered Pratt eLibrary, investing in Sony eReaders to lend to patrons, and facilitating in-branch eBook discovery with OverDrive Media Station touchscreen displays.*
The reinvestment in digital resources comes in response to surging reader demand for eBooks and eReaders. “They were flying off the shelves,” said Roswell Encina, Director of Communications for Enoch Pratt Free Library, in a video interview with WBAL, the local NBC affiliate.
Enoch Pratt CEO Dr. Carla Hayden said the grant will help the library grow its eBook collection and thereby reduce wait times for popular content. “This grant will allow us to get away from those waiting lines,” she said. “You can go on and get what you want right away.”
So far, patrons have responded enthusiastically to the Test Drive-style eReader-lending program as well as the OverDrive Media Stations, which enable patrons to browse for eBooks in the library and scan QR codes to download titles directly to mobile devices. On the library’s Facebook page, one patron praised the eReader-lending program, saying, “Nice! Putting technology in the hands of some that may not otherwise get the chance to have the experience.” Other readers took notice of the OverDrive Media Station’s touchscreen interface, saying, “That’s amazing—wish we had this!”
Congratulations to everyone at Enoch Pratt Free Library for providing Baltimore readers with exciting new ways to engage with eBooks and audiobooks. Keep up the good work!
*The OverDrive Media Station installation at Enoch Pratt Free Library is a pilot program; we’re working to make this new technology available to all OverDrive partners in the coming months.
Michael Lovett is Public Relations and Social Media Specialist at OverDrive.