As many OverDrive libraries know, we recently launched Test Drive, a program that enables libraries to offer eBook devices for demonstration and lending. At the Public Library Association Conference this year, we connected with one of the program’s early adopters, Ruth Ann Copley of North Carolina Digital Library (NCDL), to discuss the progress of her Test Drive program.
“I’ve been pleased with OverDrive as a partner for going the extra mile to offer Test Drive to our staff and the public,” says Ruth Ann, whose team customized Test Drive to fit the needs, offering staff training, device demos and lending to patrons. “I think Test Drive will integrate well with what we have already and spark interest in our digital library.”
NCDL currently circulates three of the six Test Drive-approved devices—the Sony Reader™ Wi-Fi®, the Apple iPad and the Kobo Vox™. Ruth Ann says the Sony Reader and iPad are especially popular among patrons. NDCL lends the devices for seven days, giving patrons the option to renew. A borrower’s agreement (see a Test Drive sample) and an NCDL branded case help protect the library’s investment. The case is labeled with the library name and contact information should the patron have questions during the lending period.
NCDL staff raise awareness for the Test Drive program at their information desk, which displays promotional materials. Everyone in this area is responsible for knowing how Test Drive works and for helping patrons. NCDL takes advantage of Test Drive Resources like the User Quick Start guide, and supplements these materials with its own “getting started” instructions.
Test Drive has given NCDL staff membvers the knowledge they need to handle patron questions. “[Test Drive] has been a very important part of helping staff feel more comfortable in answering patron questions and showing them how to get started or how to use devices,” says Ruth Ann.
Where does Ruth Ann see NCDL’s Test Drive program a year from now? “I’d like to have patrons comfortable with devices with minimal troubleshooting from staff,” she says. “I’d also like a strong comfort level with the staff themselves, and I think Test Drive has the potential to offer that.”
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Christina Bernecker is a Training Associate at OverDrive.