In a recent OverDrive/ American Library Association survey, library patrons reported visiting the physical branch 2.4  times per month, on average, while visiting the digital library 6.9 times in the same period. Furthermore, some of the patrons visiting your digital library may never step foot in the physical branch.


When marketing your digital collection, it helps to think outside of the box and beyond the library walls. Michigan’s Kent District Library (KDL) did just that in winning the “Outside the Library” category in our 2012 Outreach Program Contest.  KDL communications manager Heidi Nagel describes how her library reached out into the community to raise awareness about its eBooks and audiobooks.


Previously a member of a consortium, Kent District Library launched its own OverDrive site in August 2011, giving KDL cardholders improved access to meet the high-demand for eBooks and audiobooks. We purchased over 10,000 digital items for this collection in the first five months alone and now offer the largest digital collection owned by a single library in Michigan. KDL launched DWNLOAD THE LIBRARY, a campaign to promote the collection outside of the library.

Find the Treasure, Win a Kindle Contest

In our Find the Treasure, Win a Kindle contest, we sent patrons on a treasure hunt to find one of the hundreds of “specially-marked” books hidden — often in plain sight — throughout the communities served by KDL. If they saw a DWNLOADKDL.ORG logo in the bottom right corner of the book, they struck gold. Patrons were asked to take a picture of the book and either tweet it or upload it to KDL’s Facebook page. They then were automatically entered to win prizes, including gift cards and an Amazon Kindle. Books were hidden throughout the community in public areas like coffee shops and even in a local dentist’s office!


KDL posted 22 billboards with an eye-catching DWNLOAD THE LIBRARY design throughout the county for six weeks.

Ladies Expo

At a county-wide Ladies Expo, guests explored KDL’s eBook site on a laptop, asked questions, entered to win an Amazon Kindle and took home instructional materials created by our webmaster. Staff distributed notepads that included the DWNLOAD THE LIBRARY logo and URL.

Digital Bookmobile

Approximately 300 people visited OverDrive’s Digital Bookmobile, which stopped by the Grandville and Wyoming branches in August 2011. One lucky visitor also won a NOOK that we gave away as an incentive for visiting.




  • Radio Ad: A 15-second radio ad about KDL’s eBook collection ran on almost every radio station in town for about five weeks.
  • Television Ad: For two months, a short television spot promoting KDL’s downloadable collection ran on WXMI (a station targeting mainly a younger demo) and WGVU (a public television station targeting an upscale audience). View the ad on YouTube.
  • Print Ad: A full-page print ad ran in BookPage magazine.
  • Press Releases: Throughout KDL’s eBook promotional campaign, the communications department sent several press releases to the media. This led to several articles, news briefs and radio interviews.
  • Window Clings: Window clings were splashed throughout our communities and served as one more reminder to DWNLOAD THE LIBRARY.


It was exciting to think outside the box to spread the word about this valuable library resource!


Melissa Marin is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.



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