In the last few days, you and your users may have experienced error messages or slow page loads when visiting your library’s ‘Virtual Branch.’ This temporary slowdown was due to an unprecedented spike in traffic on our library websites following Christmas. While we expected a surge in usage after the holiday, your customers’ interest in eBook and audiobook downloads was greater than anyone anticipated. Many of your websites saw usage double overnight, up from what were already record levels prior to Dec. 25.

Right now, we’re managing the traffic to ensure that as many users as possible have access to the site. We’re also preparing for an increased amount of traffic this evening and into the early morning, which are traditionally peak usage times.

Not all library websites are being affected by the slow down, but if yours is, know that we’re working on both short- and long-term solutions. As we were drafting this blog post, the tech team was adding bandwidth capacity and allocating additional network resources to all OverDrive-powered websites. Additionally, we have already added new hardware to meet the increased demand on our servers, with more hardware to come. We expect that your service will be performing at the level it did prior to the holiday surge in the next 48 to 72 hours.

Of course, the enhancements don’t end there. We’ll continue to invest in the technology behind your ‘Virtual Branch’ in coming weeks and months so that we’re prepared for even the most unexpected surges in the future.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and confusion that this issue may have caused; but make no mistake: this is a good problem to have. Your library’s ‘Virtual Branch’ is more popular than ever, and we’ll do everything we can to make sure that it stays that way.

Update – Dec. 30 at 3:35 p.m. ET: All sites appear to be back to normal. We do expect increased traffic in the next few days. We’ll continue to monitor and update you  as necessary.

For additional status updates, follow @OverDriveLibs on Twitter.

Dan Stasiewski is a marketing associate for OverDrive.

8 Responses to “UPDATE: Significant activity on ‘Virtual Branch’ websites”

  1. Katie

    As a librarian with a new nook a notice on the site that there were problems would have been nice- I thought it was me!

  2. Jo Anne Tatum

    I have not been able to access the site for 4 days. In that time the book I had requested on hold became available, but the hold has now expired. How can I get my request back without going to the end of the line?


  3. LD

    @Jo Anne Tatum

    I work for a library in WA that uses OverDrive. I recommend you email or call your local library and tell them the issue. They will have to send a support email to OverDrive and ask them to reset your hold. I don’t know how much of a delay it will cost you but they should be able to help. That’s what we would do for a patron at my library.

  4. Upset Librarian

    You weren’t anticipating this level of demand???? Do you guys read the tech or consumer news?? You blew the opportunity for libraries to impress a new group of users. Ouch.

  5. Sandy

    It would be be helpful to client libraries if Overdrive would have posted a statement (or if the company still could post a statement about the site instabilities) that we could refer patrons to. Our public library, like many of our fellow libraries, were already preparing for an onslaught of questions about downloadable media on the basis of questions we were already receiving about devices, etc. during the holiday shopping season. We were prepared…but not prepared for an outage of this length from Overdrive. We still are receiving questions from patrons about reserves and whether they will be honored.

  6. billy

    For those customers who have lost holds or lost checkouts, OverDrive can place them back at the top of the list for those titles. For these cases, please send an email, or call your local Library. they have all received emails on fixings this issue