SYNC 2020 Starts April 30

image from www.audiobooksync.comIf you listen to audiobooks, this post is for you! The 11th SYNC Audiobooks for Teens programs starts this Thursday, April 30. There are a few changes this year and I'm here to help you get ready for a summer of listening.

Here are the steps you'll need to follow to get started.

  • First, you'll want to register with your email address for SYNC 2020
  • Next, download the Sora, the student reading app from OverDrive, from your app store
  • Open Sora and tap "I have a set up code" and enter audiobooksync
  • Then enter the email address you used to register for SYNC
  • On Thursday, April 30 (and every Thursday through July 23), tap Explore to see the week's books and borrow them. Once you borrow the audiobook, it stays on your Shelf in Sora for 100 years!

SoraCollageAlso new this year is that all downloading and listening of the audiobooks needs to happen in the Sora app. There is no longer the option to download separate MP3 files.

To promote the SYNC program to your library patrons, there is a Toolkit with posters, banners, resources, and more for you to use. The logo on this blog came from the toolkit. 

I set up the Sora app on my phone this week and took a few screenshots to share with you. The process was pretty easy and I'm looking forward to the first audiobooks: Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson and The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater.

Happy listening!




Libby and OverDrive Updates

Wow - I am so impressed with all of our libraries and how they're responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of you have been posting about Wisconsin's Digital Library, OverDrive, and Libby and I wanted to make sure you knew of some of the recent updates and additions to the service.

First, the Lucky Day collection went live on February 14 (an appropriate day, I think!). This collection of almost 2500 popular titles is available to check out for 7 days and patrons may borrow 2 Lucky Day items at one time.

Second, Holds Redelivery is now live. What does this mean? Basically, after receiving notification that a hold is available, patrons have 3 days to borrow it, suspend their hold and pass it along to the next person in line, or cancel the hold. If the patron takes no action, the hold will automatically be suspended for 7 days and the title will go to the next person in line. If no action is taken a second time, the hold will be cancelled automatically. 

Third, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to offer additional resources to our patrons, WPLC added 400 Duke Classic ebooks. These are all simultaneous access and will be available for a year.

LibbyReturnEarlyPrizeFourth, a happy announcement from Macmillan today. According to an article on the Publishers Weekly website, Macmillan will abandon their embargo on new release ebooks for libraries on Friday, March 20 (or maybe sooner). Woo hoo!

Lastly, I will be running a second OverDrive Support Course for the spring beginning on March 30 and running through May 1. If you or your staff are interested, please register here.

Just for fun...If you return a book early in Libby, you may notice a small icon in the middle of the screen. If you tap on it, you'll see this - enjoy!

Libby 6.0

LibbyNotificationsIn May, the Libby App from OverDrive will be three years old and is already on Version 6.0. I was looking back at my TechBits post from May 2017 when the announcement came out. While it took about a year, I finally became an avid user of Libby for audiobooks and my husband reads ebooks (on his phone!) constantly.

In anticipation of her third birthday, Libby had a big update in December that includes push notifications. Libby users can opt to be notified when:

  • a hold becomes available
  • a loan is about to expire
  • a loan has expired

The notifications are device specific so if, like me, you and your partner or family share the same Libby account*, the notifications can be customized to each device. For example, I have mine set to mostly notify me by Menu Badges and a push notification when a hold is ready while my husband didn't want any notifications.

Libby's notifications will be helpful in the next big update - Hold Redelivery - which is coming sometime in early 2020. Hold Redelivery will help those patrons who place lots of holds that all come in at once by allowing them to suspend the hold even after it's made available to them. I'm looking forward to that change and I will let you know when it is available.

Happy Reading!

*Yes, my husband uses my library card in Libby :-)

Keep Talking...About Libraries!

One of the side-effects of being a librarian is that I love to talk about libraries and all they offer to anyone and everyone. I've been known to talk about placing holds at the library, using Libby and OverDrive, and online databases with people I've just met. It's an occupational hazard. I recently read an article in Public Libraries Online called "Never Shut Up About the Awesome Programs at the Library!" which indicates I'm not alone in talking up the library at every opportunity.

When I read this article, SCLS was in the midst of updating all the online resource information as subscriptions change and update at the beginning of the year. It reminded me that getting patrons to use our online resources is an ongoing challenge. Back in 2015, WiLS devoted their Regional Community Meetings to the topic of "how to promote, teach others about, and evaluate your electronic resources" (you can see the slides and notes here).

DatabasesAs you're looking at your online resource statistics from 2018 or collecting the numbers for your annual report, you might be asking yourself similar questions - how do we get our patrons to use this particular resource, attend programs, or check out more books? I have a couple of suggestions for you. As the Continuing Education Consultant, staff training is high on my list! All library staff -  even those who don't work directly with the public - can be the biggest champions of the library. Take a few minutes at each staff meeting to highlight an upcoming program, online resource, or collection. Encourage staff to explore the online resources as part of their daily duties and share what they learn with each other.

Other training resources:

Most importantly - talk about the library and all that you offer. The last paragraph of the article I referenced above is all about this. Talk about the statistics compiled for the annual report, the programs coming up, the online resources you have, and more. Keep talking up the library!

Wisconsin's Digital Library Updates

LibbyUpdate0219croppedRegular users of Wisconsin's Digital Library through the Libby App noticed some recent updates. One of my personal favorites is the improved wait time display. Now it's easier to see the approximate wait time for my holds by tapping on the little calendar icon. I also love seeing my place in line go up and all the other data about the holds that I've placed.

Another big update was adding new Shelf tips - including one that encourages readers to return books when they're done rather than waiting for the loan to expire. The prompt appears based on the reader's progress and the number of others waiting for the title. This means the next patron will get the book earlier and, hopefully, cut down on some of the long wait times in our collection.

Shelf2OverDrive updated the Loans display on Shelf page. It's easy to see how much of a book you've read or listened to with the progress bar. OverDrive also lets you know if there are others waiting for the book and prompts you to place a hold or renew a title when your expiration date is getting close. (I better get going on The Breakers!)

To see other updates to Libby, visit the Libby menu on the app (Menu>Libby>What's New in Libby?).

On another OverDrive note, the next SCLS OverDrive Support Course is scheduled for March 11 - April 12 and SCLS member library staff can register here!



OverDrive Updates & Support Course

LibbyIn early October, we told you about some upcoming changes to how SCLS authenticates for OverDrive. Those changes went into effect this past Tuesday, October 16. While there were a few hiccups along the way, all of them (we think) have been resolved. If you or your patrons notice anything out of the ordinary, please let the Help Desk know.

And, in case you missed it, the next session of the OverDrive Support Course will start on Monday, October 29 and run through December 7 (with a break for Thanksgiving week). Registration is open and limited to 15 participants.

The course materials are all online and can be viewed at your convenience. There will be weekly readings, quizzes, and email questions. While online, the course is interactive. Students receive weekly email questions from "patrons" (like Mycroft Holmes and Frank Zappa) and have to respond as if the support request is a real one. In addition to learning OverDrive, it's a great way to refresh your reference interview skills and have fun.

OverDrive's new status page

Did you see the news? As of September 4th, OverDrive has a new status page to communicate service issues at

OverDrive’s new status page is available to all staff and end users. You can visit the page at any time to view the status of browsing and searching, signing in, downloading, and reading and/or listening to a book. If services on the OverDrive side are running smoothly, their status will be listed as Operational. If a service is degraded or experiencing an outage, the status will be updated accordingly.

To be notified when issues are posted, you can follow the @OverDriveStatus Twitter account which will be automatically updated, or sign up for alerts via subscription options in the lower right corner of the page.

Please take a few minutes to visit the status page and feel free to share this with your staff. WPLC project managers will continue to send service alerts to the WPLC Announcements list and to the Google WPLC Support Community.

Libby App Or OverDrive App

I've been on the road recently doing OverDrive training at a couple of libraries (and with my Dad) - thank you for having me out Brodhead and LaValle. One question that came up was about the Libby and OverDrive apps. Do you need both?

LibbyOverDriveThe answer? Maybe - as you can see on this screenshot of my iPhone, I have both. And, they're right next to my other two favorite book apps - LibraryThing and Litsy.

For a new user of Wisconsin's Digital Library, Libby is the way to go. It's so easy to set up and start using. At the training, library staff easily downloaded and starting using Libby. More features are being added regularly. For example, if you're a Kindle user you can now send books to your Kindle from Libby.

Do you have to switch from OverDrive App to Libby? No, you can use both at the same time - I do. For patrons who have been using Wisconsin's Digital Library for a while, they may have a Wish List (like me) or recommended titles and want to see the list. These options are not available on Libby yet. To access your settings, wishlist, rated titles, or recommendations, you'll want to use the OverDrive app or the web version of Wisconsin's Digital Library. As far as I know, there are no plans to discontinue the OverDrive app. If that changes, I'll be sure to let you know.

If you have a Kindle Fire, the OverDrive app is available in the Amazon app store. Libby is not. The OverDrive app opens up the ePub format titles to Kindle Fire users.

And, if you're a SYNC YA program listener, you'll need to use the OverDrive app or the OverDrive Media Console on your computer to download the weekly titles.

Happy reading and listening!


Google now showing where to borrow ebooks

GoogleebookThis week Google added a new feature to their search results. When you look up a book title on Google, the results will now show a listing of libraries that have the ebook version available to borrow.

The listing shows up in the “quick facts” box either above or next to the search results, depending on whether you’re on a PC or a mobile. The feature is available on both PCs and mobile devices in the US.

I did some experimenting and it appears the information is coming from OverDrive.  Clicking on the link for “Wisconsin Public Library Consortium: South Central Library System – Madiso” brought me directly to the OverDrive page for the book and prompted for a sign in. The local library name at the end of the link will change depending on where you are or if you enter a new location in the “Edit location” window.

One thing I did note is that if you’re searching for a book that also has a movie adaptation, the “quick facts” may default to the movie information, not the book.  Searching for "The Hobbit" originally returned information about the films but adding "book" after the title got me the listing above.

Libby App from OverDrive

LibbyOverDrive recently announced the launch of their new app for readers, Libby. If you're subscribed to the WPLC Announcements email list, you've already seen this message from Andi Coffin at WiLS:

Phase 1 will encourage brand new users to download Libby instead of the OverDrive app. While OverDrive users in other states will see this change in June, the WPLC has opted to push this back to August in order to give us time to prepare to properly support the new app. Phase 2, which will happen later in the fall, will begin to encourage existing users to switch to Libby. It is unknown at this time if or when support for the existing app will end.
If you are not using Libby, we encourage you or your library's OverDrive support providers to become acquainted with it. Even though the app won't be pushed to new users until later this year, it is already available for public download and there will likely be support requests for it soon. You can download Libby from the App Store or Google Play.
OverDrive is providing three webinars on Libby on May 31 and June 1. You can find information about those Staff Training opportunities as well as general information here:
I downloaded Libby last week and it is pretty easy to use. As I learn more, I'll pass the information along to you. Happy reading!