This week’s guest post comes from Yan Xu of the Naperville Public Library. Yan is the Adult and Teen Services Supervisor at the Naperville Blvd. branch. The Naperville Public Library started a Nook lending program last May and Yan details how the library started the program and how successful it has been. Thanks for a great post Yan!
Naperville Public Library users embraced the downloadable ebooks idea with such enthusiasm that for a while our staff was scrambling to provide enough training for everyone walking through the door. Circulating eReaders were not a new idea any more by the end of 2011 and it seemed that we didn’t really need to promote them, but other reasons drove our decision.
We realized that many popular titles, especially Children’s materials, are not available through Overdrive or other vendors. Reading a book on an eReader is fun but the downloading process proved to be a source of frustration for some, especially for users with dedicated eReaders and not tablets. How could we provide popular titles as eBooks not available from Overdrive? Without the hassle of downloading? Pre-loaded eReaders provided the right answer to both questions.
It was actually a good time to start a circulating eReader collection. We learned from the successes of other libraries’ practices and policies. On the technical side, after the initial round of eReaders of every brand competing with each other, the obvious winners emerged from the crowd. We had no trouble picking out the best, most cost effective e-readers at that time: Nook Simple Touch and Nook Tablet. Nook Simple Touch is still one of the best reviewed e-readers.
With providing content in the new format as our main goal, we decided to set up groups covering popular genres. For example, for Nooks dedicated to adult materials, we have Fiction Nook, Nonfiction Nook, Mystery and Crime Nook, Science Fiction and Fantasy Nook, Romance Nook, Graphic Novels Nook and Local Author Nook. Each group has between one to three Nooks. Same with the Teen and Juvenile Nooks, each group’s name is self-explanatory about the type of content they carry.
Good cataloging practices also added to the appeal of these eReaders. All book titles and authors are included in the content notes and author fields, so that a search for a specific title or author will also yield pre-loaded eReaders in the result list, leading customers to the new format.
After we carefully promoted the collection before its launch, 30 Nooks and 6 Nook Tablets started going out to Naperville Library users in May 2012. It was an instant hit. We even heard jokes about how people went to Barnes & Noble to get a Nook for themselves because the waiting list for a Library Nook was just too long. In response, we added more eReaders and new content. After almost a year, every single eReader is still either checked out or waiting on the Hold Shelf for the next patron. The collection will soon grow to over a hundred e-readers, including Kindles with foreign language titles, and iPads dedicated for our Special Services customers, library users with physical challenges.
Anyone remember this cartoon? (Unshelved, Oct. 20, 2007) We provided one new format and our library users loved it.
Do your patrons love preloaded eReaders? Has your library implemented a successful program? Tell us all about it in the comments!