In August, we announced the winners of this year’s Digital Library Champions contest. Each winner has agreed to share their success story through a series of Librarian’s Share blog posts, beginning with the OverDrive Allstar Award winner, Kenton County Public Library:

 

For library users who walk into our branches, it’s easy for them to assess the scope of their choices. They can see, feel and touch every book, CD, magazine, and DVD.  However, lurking in the stacks, around the displays and transmitting through the wireless network, is an unseen presence. Although Halloween is a month away, it’s not anything scary or supernatural. The ghost is the thousands of invisible digital items hiding on the website, out of sight and out of mind. In fact, many libraries could build a new wing of their building to hold the physical versions of online resources. To make the point, we could section off an empty room with a sign that says, “This room is full of additional books, videos, music, magazines, and audiobooks that you can check-out with your library card.  You can’t see them because they’re online.”

 

The eBook numbers are striking and almost hard to believe. Pew Internet reports that “58% of library card holders say they do not know if their library provides eBook lending services.”  Additionally, “47% of all those who read an eBook in the past year say they do not know if their library lends eBooks.” 1

 

The challenge is ever present. How can we give life to these amazing digital resources? Our PR Department set out to solve the problem.  Working with the IT Department and the design firm Rhinoworks, they came up with the idea of creating a mascot. Kenton County Public Library has a very popular library mascot, Booker, who champions the library, reading and books at events across the community.  A digital mascot could champion the eBooks in a similar way.

 

After a process of developing the character and settling on the name, KC came to life.  KC was designed as an eye-catching symbol that provides a connection between the live library experience in our branches, social networks, the library website and our OverDrive collection.  In effect, KC gives a presence to this invisible eBook collection.  You’ll see her face on posters, digital slides, on social media sites, and on small business-size cards that are distributed in the community that all link back to our eBook website.

 

“We’ve heard feedback from the frontline staff that the KC cards are very popular, almost akin to trading cards,” states Robin Klaene, the Kenton County Public Library’s Public Relations Director. “In addition to using KC to promote eBooks, we’re also using the mascot to give life to our other ‘bread and butter’ type resources such as music and magazines. These items are something everyone can use. As we move forward with a new website this fall, we hope to expand KC’s presence online and in the community.”

 

1 Zickuhr, K., Rainie, L., Purcell, K., Madden, M., & Brenner, J. (2012). Libraries, patrons, and eBooks. Pew Research Center, Washington, DC, available at: http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2012/06/22/libraries-patrons-and-eBooks/

 

Ann Schoenenberger, MLIS, is the Digital Librarian for the Kenton County Public Library (KY). Kenton County Public Library is the winner of the OverDrive Allstar Award, the grand prize in this year’s Digital Library Champions contest.