OverDrive Digipalooza 2021

DigipaloozaSmallerEvery two years, OverDrive hosts Digipalooza in Cleveland, Ohio. I've attended a number of times and I always learned lots of information to bring back to you. It's also a lot of fun and I really miss in-person conferences! I captured this image from the 2017 video and you can see Sara Gold from WiLS and Molly Warren from Madison in the image as well.

The 2021 Digipalooza is going completely online! And, the cost to register is only $39* for three half-days of content. Digipalooza runs from Tuesday, August 3 through Thursday, August 5 with programs starting at noon Central Time (1 p.m. Eastern Time) each day.

The conference schedule is packed with programs geared towards Public, School, and Academic & Corporate libraries. This is a great way to learn more about OverDrive and Libby including a keynote address featuring Dr. Carla D. Hayden, Librarian of Congress, networking and social opportunities, and many more. One of the highlights for me is a session called OverDrive Technology & App Updates where OverDrive developers share what they're working on next.

I hope you take advantage of this unique opportunity to attend Digipalooza virtually in 2021! I'm sure that OverDrive will make it a memorable experience.

*SCLS libraries can use CE Grant funds to offset the registration cost.


Libby Updates

OverDrive recently released a significant update to the Libby app and there are a few changes I want to highlight.

LibbyUpdate2021Let's look at the changes by exploring the Shelf and the Timeline.

  • Patrons can see the number of items they have checked out and on hold at a glance. Also, there are some new tags to checkout. The one next to Holds is a Smart tag. This one contains titles I've borrowed in Libby and it's automatically populated by my activity. I created this wish list tag I created to keep track of books I'm interested in. (side note: patrons can now sync their Wish Lists from the OverDrive App or website to the Libby app)
  • As an audiobook listener, I am always curious about the length of the book. Now, instead of having to look at the details of the book or open it up, I can see the length of the book from my Shelf. A small change that made me very happy.
  • The highlighted bar at the bottom of the app is an easy way to get back to the title I'm currently listening to (or reading). If you happen to click on the X, it removes this bar from the screen and all you need to do to reopen the book is to tap on "Open in Libby."

LibbyUpdateNext, let's explore the Timeline screen.

  • At the top of the screen is the total number of items I've checked out, renewed, and returned along with the holds I've placed. Kind of fun information to know!

  • Next up is the timeline. In this case, it's showing my April activity. If you tap on the double arrow icon, you can change the month and see your activity for previous months.
  • At the bottom of the app is the Navigation footer. There are some new icons here. From left to right we have:

There are a few other updates and you can watch a short tutorial for a tour of the updates. For more information, visit Libby Help. Questions or comments? What do you think of the changes? Let me know!







Wisconsin's Digital Library Dashboard

Wisconsin library patrons love Wisconsin's Digital Library! In fact, in 2020, Wisconsin patrons checked out almost 7 million ebook and digital audiobooks (6,999,763 to be exact!). How many of those checkouts were yours in 2020?

OverDriveDashboardAs of right now, on February 18 at 3:58 p.m., 996,458 items have been checked out and 519,949 items have been placed on hold. How do I know that you ask? Today, a new Digital Library Dashboard was launched. You'll find this link at the bottom of Wisconsin's Digital Library homepage.

In addition to seeing the numbers change every second or so, you'll also see what items are being checked out or placed on hold. If you're quick enough, you can click on the cover image for more information about the title and place your own hold or check it out. It's a great way to fill up your hold list.

I made a video* so you can see an example of how fast these numbers are changing. I find the dashboard mesmerizing and I've had it open on my computer all day. I'm finishing this post up at 4:14 p.m. on February 18 and the numbers are now:

  • loans = 996,783
  • holds = 520,106

Happy reading and listening!

*There is no sound on the video and you can see how the number grew in just a few hours!


Reading Journey in Libby

ReadingHistory2If you're a Libby user like me, you may have noticed some new information on your reading history in Libby. It's called your Reading Journey and it works like this.

From your Shelf in Libby, tap on the "due in X days" to see your reading journey for individual titles. I recently finished Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly and you can see that I listened to this book for 13 hours and 58 minutes and picked up the audiobook 28 times. Libby also told me when I checked out the book, returned it, placed another hold, and checked it out again (yes, I didn't finish it the first time). For Educated by Tara Westover, Libby tells me that I'm on track to finish listening to the audiobook in 8 hours and 13 minutes. Not only for audiobooks, similar information is available for ebook checkouts. 

Timeline2While this can be interesting information to have, if you or your patrons are at all concerned about this information, you can turn this feature off. I also want to share OverDrive's Privacy Policy to reassure you and your patrons that the timeline information is not shared with publishers or stored by OverDrive. Here's how to turn off your timeline. **Updated 10/30/2020: Once you turn off your timeline, you can't turn it back on without resetting the app so only turn off the timeline if you really, really want to. 

On a related note, the next session of the OverDrive Support Course (for SCLS member library staff only) starts next Monday, November 2. In this 5-week course, you'll learn about providing support for Wisconsin's Digital Library including answering Libby questions like this one. Register here!

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.