Since announcing the winners of this year’s marketing-focused Digital Library Champions contest at Digipalooza in August, each month we’ve highlighted their success stories through a series of Librarian’s Share blog posts. This week, we feature the winner of the “Outside the Library” category, High Point Public Library (member of the North Carolina Digital Library):
As we began 2012, High Point Public Library experienced a huge influx of readers interested in the library’s eBooks due to the affordability of eReaders. It seemed like everyone had received an eReader or tablet for Christmas in 2011. We were searching for ways to connect readers with the growing eBook collection that we provide through the North Carolina Digital Library.
In the spring of 2012, an idea came to mind. What if we could help the people that were planning on giving eReaders to their mothers, wives, or daughters for Mother’s Day and promote the library’s eBook collection at the same time?
A plan was born to provide complimentary gift boxes (with tissue paper, ribbon and gift tag included) that were the perfect size for wrapping up new devices (they were white shirt boxes, in fact). Inside each gift box, we would include general information and tips on how to get started using their device. We also provided specific information on how to use the library’s OverDrive collection based on the type of device they received. Library staff had already created device-specific handouts on how to use the service. We advertised these gift boxes in posters and on the library’s Facebook page.
Unsure of how popular this service would be, we were surprised when the majority of the 16 gift boxes that we created had been taken. While our project started with Mother’s Day, we continued throughout the summer for high school and college graduation season and Father’s Day, as well. We expect that this may account for an increase in our circulation during May-July of 2012. We had 1,300 circulations in May and almost 1,850 for the month of July 2012.
We saw the gift boxes used for more than just holiday gifts. We had a Middle School teacher come and get two of the boxes to reward her top readers with Kindles and she wanted to include information about the library’s eBook collection with them. It was then that I realized it was a success!
Overall, we were pleased with the response we received for this service. It was a relatively low-cost way to make the eBook experience more personalized for the new device owners and spread the word about eBooks to members of our community. If you wanted to do this at your library, you might even ask your Friends of the Library group to help fund the project and get them involved in the publicity for your OverDrive service. This is a service that could be offered around major holidays or even throughout the year, as eReaders and tablets are popular birthday gifts as well. We feel that through this project we were really able to demonstrate the library’s value to the community in a new and unique way.
Julie Raynor is the Readers’ Services Supervisor and OverDrive Specialist at High Point Public Library, member of the North Carolina Digital Library, and winner of the Outside the Library category in the 2013 Digital Library Champions contest.