Digital Library News

Archive for Digital Library News

One of the early adoption markets for tablet use, K12 digital textbooks, and a thriving e-commerce site to offer ebooks was India, but recent reports have shown somewhat stagnant responses, which experts have attributed to a lack of reliable wifi and internet connectivity throughout the country, as well as concerns about posting credit card information on unreliable digital infrastructure. But a new multi-billion dollar initiative from the Indian government in conjunction with a major telecom provider may change all that with the institution of free wifi in 2,500 cities across the country.

The Digital India project will create some 50,000 to 60,000 hotspots in various cities, and offer citizens data plans through telecom-provider BSNL. These data plans, which will function in much the same way that consumers currently subscribe to data plans, will offer the free data packages, with the option to purchase additional data each month after the free threshold has been reached.

According to an outline of the project, the goals include:

  • Broadband highways to connect all villages and cities of India
  • Everywhere mobile connectivity; wherein mobile coverage will be provided to every nook and corner of India
  • Public Internet Access Program wherein internet accessibility to the web will be provided at subsidized rates (example public WiFis)
  • eGovernance in every government department, wherein 100% paper-less environment will be encouraged
  • e-Kranti, wherein government services would be electronically delivered
    Information for All policy (which includes provisioning of Right to Information using the Internet as a medium)
  • Electronics manufacturing
  • IT for Jobs
  • Early harvest program

How does this affect the publishing industry? Nearly all sectors of publishing have seen lagging adoption–slower than predicted, at least–due to concerns of connectivity. While educational initiatives have put devices in place, retail websites like Flipkart and Amazon India have introduced easy ebook purchasing, and even major self-publishers have brought the platform to authors in India, the lack of internet connection has been blamed for disappointing results in publishing.


Internet news devotees have had to become very selective about the articles they read due to the abundance of available content, which has led many to adopt dedicated digital platforms that only display news from sources they choose. Apps like PressReader and Newsbeat have stepped up to fill the gap, and offer customizable options for current news, including region-specific content and categorical selection. Digital newspapers and magazines have also grown in popularity, possibly in relation to the unreliable options flooding social media; OverDrive reported on its growth of digital content yesterday, citing the convenience of access to news through public library portals as a chief patron service.

One platform in particular, Press Reader, released a new video that explains its all-you-can-read digital news model, as well as its emergence as a leading provider of digital newspapers and magazines to the all-important library sector.

Press Reader bills itself to users as a premium content provider, meaning its not the same old headlines that are available scattered across news blogs. This has helped the crucial lending market make a trusted choice in subscribing for their patrons to access digital content.

Well-lit vanity mirrors? Shower benches for leg shaving? Kinder lighting in the corridors? Why not?

Some critics of Virgin Group Ltd., the chain of entertainment and service industry offerings owned by billionaire Richard Branson, have scoffed at the corporation’s latest attempt to win over a key demographic with its new hospitality chain, Virgin Hotels. The luxury hotel chain is making a concerted effort to meet the needs of the growing numbers of female business travelers, but it’s not just makeup mirrors and smooth legs.

One key feature of this hotel chain is a divided room that allows the guest to accept deliveries like room service or luggage service through the main room door, while staying locked behind a second door with a peep hole. Corridor lighting has been enhanced to ensure that there are no dark corners for someone to lurk in. Of course, there are the less intimidating amenities like larger closets to accommodate business travelers’ suits and dresses, helping to ensure that the purpose of the trip comes off as stylishly as possible.

While some news sources have openly stated that female guests have no need of these extra features because “they’ve done okay without leg-shaving benches thus far,” Virgin’s founder sees it a little differently, considering the numbers of women who travel for business, not just for vacation.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Virgin determined early on that appealing to female business travelers was part of that approach. Company executives cited a 2011 report from the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University that highlighted the market opportunity: While females accounted for only a quarter of business travelers in 1991, they now comprise about half.”

It may seem gimmicky to some, but in a crowded hospitality industry, hotel chains are working overtime to meet the needs of guests in a way that make them stand out. Anyone can offer a bed, a bath, and a bagel in the lobby each morning, but companies are actively working to provide features that make travelers choose their accommodations based on features like wifi that remembers you from your last visit, free digital newspapers and magazines through apps like PressReader, the ability to read the news from “back home” while traveling, and more.

overdrive australia nsw
Any time a library can report an increase in circulation, patron engagement, offered services, and catalog content, it’s a cause for celebration. Libraries as vital parts of healthy communities are in a constant state of defense, so growth in the sector is good to hear. But when the libraries in question are school libraries who cater to the needs of emerging readers (and future voters who will determine the strength of public libraries down the road), it’s even better.

OverDrive, one of the world’s leading providers of digital content to public and academic libraries, released news yesterday of record growth of its ebook catalog.

“As of January 1, 2015, nearly 12,000 schools and districts have incorporated the OverDrive service into their curriculum and library plans, a 50% increase over the same time last year. OverDrive now works with K-12 partners in 38 countries, with 10 countries added to their global network in 2014.”

eBook adoption in school libraries stands to result in a significant savings for both public and private centers’ budgets, given the typically lower cost of titles and the elimination of damaged copies. One of the chief complaints in school adoption of digital titles, though, has been lack of content from publishers, a factor that OverDrive has worked hard to eliminate.

“OverDrive’s school eBook catalog has also reached record size, with 24% growth over the last year, adding more than 100,000 new titles and bringing the total digital catalog available to schools to more than 2 million titles. Audiobook availability has increased 15%, with more than 5,500 new titles available to school partners through OverDrive…In addition, the 2014 acquisition of Teacher’s Notebook has given K-12 partners access to teacher-created curriculum materials from more than 500,000 educators.

One of the most exciting parts of the announcement is the seamless incorporation of audio narration with digital titles, a factor that has been proven to increase not only comprehension and reading levels in students who utilize it, but also to play a key role in fostering reading self-selected texts for pleasure.

“In 2014, OverDrive also introduced Narrated eBooks, a feature that provides a single eBook file synchronized with audio. Publishers supplied hundreds of popular children’s titles in this new format, which are now available for schools and libraries.”

With a 234% increase in new visitors to the OverDrive site (over 2 million year-over-year), and 6.26 million visits to the school digital content website in 2014 alone (an increase of 276% over the previous year), K12 academic libraries are finally making solid headway into digital adoption.


A new library has broke ground in Vancouver and will serve the poorest postal code in Canada. The Downtown Eastside is rife with poverty, drug use, sex, crime, and violence.

The building that will be constructed will have six different floors, two for the library and four for social housing called Cause We Care House, designated for single mothers. It is being financed by a joint initiative between the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Public Library and YWCA Metro Vancouver.

“We’ll have medical and employment services, a mother and tot program, and we’ll offer support to families with infants who have been diagnosed with developmental delays,” YWCA Metro Vancouver CEO Janet Austin said at a news conference at the site.

The naming convention being employed for the upcoming library is entirely unique and is the first major civic building in Vancouver to have an official aboriginal name. The word nə́c̓aʔmat ct encompasses the idea of “we are one” in the Musqueam language.

The Downtown Eastside, Chinatown and Strathcona community are the last neighborhoods in Vancouver without a public library. Sandra Singh, the city’s chief librarian, said the library, which will measure about 11,000 square feet, will be among the largest branches in the VPL system. Incidentally this will also be the first official library to be constructed in Vancouver in the last 20 years.

This library is going to have thousands of book and e-book titles available to patrons. Beth Davies Neighbourhood Services Manager at VPL said that “Our selections team is just starting to acquire books and other materials for the new branch, having developed a collection profile based on neighborhood demographics and feedback, and circulation patterns in other similar locations. The collection will be newly acquired for this branch; the children’s material at our current Strathcona branch will remain with the school when the library becomes a school-only library. We are not relying on community donations.”

She went on to say “E-book and digital collections will be available to patrons at this location, just as at other locations, and are intended to complement the print collections.”

Currently, the VPL deals with Overdrive which accounts for the largest segment of audiobooks and e-Books. Digital Newspapers will also play a key role via PressReader.  I have a feeling that the digital adoption rate will be low at this new location, as the low-income patrons likely don’t have cutting edge smartphones or tablets.

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When library patrons think of ebook lending, they might be familiar with the powers behind the books, with names like OverDrive or 3M distributing content to their local libraries. But with survey data from as recently as 2012 indicating that the majority of library patrons in the US didn’t even know their public libraries could lend ebooks, despite the current numbers that 90% of American libraries offer digital lending, there’s an obvious disconnect between the services offered and patron adoption.

A mobile platform developer is working to change that, and so far, the results have been strong. Boopsie, a mobile app developer for libraries, has seen effective growth in US libraries that offer a branded app for their patrons to discover content, conduct research, check out ebooks, and more.

Boopsie works with some of the biggest names in ebook distribution to libraries, including ProQuest, EBSCO, Baker and Taylor, Recorded Books, Overdrive, and 3M Cloud Library. Even more beneficial to libraries, patrons, and rights holders, the company also works in retailing digital content, allowing patrons to purchase titles from names like comic and graphic novel platform Comics Plus and CoverCake, an analytics tool that helps drive vertical engagement through its in-app book discovery tool.

“2014 was a great year for Boopsie,” said Tony Medrano, CEO of Boopsie, in a press release. “Not only were we able to work with the library community to develop technologies that more efficiently deliver library services to users, we were also able to secure strategic partnerships that are helping us grow internationally and into new markets with a leveraged sales force. 2015 will be filled with even greater product, service, content and developments for libraries.”

But how strong is this growth? Boopsie has seen a 30% increase the number of new customers over the course of one year, and a 96% renewal rate. In a recent survey of over 1,000 patrons conducted in conjunction with the Washington State Library on the effectiveness of the state’s Library Now app, 85.5% stated they use the Library Now App, and 74.8% use the library’s other online services. A reported 43.8% of patrons report using the app at least once a week, while 58.3% reported that it makes using the library easier than before.

“Our partnership with the Washington State Library was a perfect opportunity to enable the state’s innovative libraries to make more services available cost-effectively, to their diverse and increasingly mobile users,” continued Medrano. “With our mobile app platform, the libraries are able to make their extensive print, electronic and human resources readily available beyond the library buildings to the general public whenever needed. The work we did with the State of Washington also helped us get closer to our goal of supporting libraries’ individual and unique missions by providing scalable, reliable and easy-to-use library-branded mobile apps that users of library resources increasingly demand.”


Libraries often find themselves stretching their book buying budget in order to satiate the demand for bestselling titles. All of the books they buy are mostly new, either directly from the publisher or authorized 3rd party resellers. The Toronto Public Library is bucking this trend and wants to buy your used books.

Metro News is reporting that the Toronto Public Library launched the used book buying program in December, in a bid to reduce the wait times for popular fiction books such as the weeks-long delay it experienced for Us Conductors by Sean Michaels after it won the Giller Prize.

The Toronto Public Library isn’t just interested in any book, but have strict requirements. Your book must be on their list of popular adult fiction titles that are currently in high demand and must be in very good shape. If you meet all of the libraries requirements they will buy it from you straight up for $5.00.

At the beginning of every month the list of books the library wants to buy will be updated. This often depends on mainstream bestsellers that have just released or what books are continuing to see accelerated demand by the patrons.

This initiative will save the library money and allow them to stretch their budget further, but publishers and authors are up in arms about this becoming a trend in the industry.  Noah Richler, the acclaimed author who most recently wrote What We Talk About When We Talk About War, recently penned an opinion piece panning the Toronto library’s decision. “Instead of ordering copies of books that furnish a royalty, and supporting the trade, as all honourable purchases do, the TPL is buying off the back of a public truck it has ushered into the courtyard, depriving writers and the companies that invest in them of their just reward. It can do so because it has decided that the lowest possible price to be paid is the right one.”

It is important to note that Toronto Public plans to buy one copy for every six holds placed on a title. Since the program launched last month the library only bought 20 books, which is a drop in the bucket compared their normal spending habits. Still, its too early to tell how this pilot will affect the perception of the library by publishers and authors.  It is slatted to run for one calender year and be evaluated at the end, to see if its viable to continue.

Baseline, the libraries program to buy your books is basically trying to curb rampant spending. It is one of the least funded major library in Canada and they are constantly under the gun to reduce costs. One of the big expenses right now is digital lending.  In 2014, Toronto Public was one of two libraries in North America that loaned out over two million e-Books.

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OverDrive Read on bookshelf

Overdrive is the undisputed leader in facilitating e-Book and audiobook loans in libraries all over the world. The company has just announced that 105 million e-Books were loaned out globally, which is a 32% increase from 2013.

Libraries that do business with Overdrive loaned out 137 million digital assets in 2014, which is a 33% increase from 2013. This not only includes e-Books but audiobooks have been doing quite well with 32 million checkouts in 2014, a 38% increase from the same time last year.

Overdrive also shed some light on what devices proved to be the most popular when accessing content from the public library. The company facilitated a total of 401 million connections, which is a staggering figure. 43% were made on tablets, 36% on desktop and 21% on smartphones. Tablets and smartphones now account for 52% of all checkouts and 64% of all traffic in 2014.

When it comes to libraries purchasing digital content to loan out to patrons, Overdrive certainly isn’t the only game in town. 3M Cloud Library and Baker and Taylor are also forces to be reckoned with, but Overdrive has the largest market share. Smaller companies have disclosed to Good e-Reader over the years that they have an easier time pitching their content distribution system to libraries, if they already do business with Overdrive.

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The Bibliotech Library in Bexar County was the first library ever to forgo books entirely and embrace digital. The branch celebrated its first year of operation last September. Things are working out so well, that the all digital library is expanding into a second location later this year.

During its inaugural year the Bibliotech library has been heralded as a massive success. They had over 136,104 visitors who checked out the library during their first year and 47,514 patrons registered to use the various digital services. The library loaned out 7,147 e-readers and over 102,243 e-book circulations were made since September 2013.

BiblioTech Administrator Laura Cole shed some light on the new location “We will be located in commercial space in a new public housing development. The housing development itself is innovative. It is an energy efficient community with a total of 539 mixed-income units. The development also features 4,200 sf commercial space and 12 live/work units to promote small business. Further, the development promotes walkability with green spaces, walking trails and a plaza to connect residents with the adjacent neighborhoods. The development and its neighborhood are a perfect fit for BiblioTech.”

Laura went on to elaborate the reasoning beyond the selected location “One of the fundamental components of BiblioTech is to provide technology access to underserved areas. A demographic survey of the new location reveals that within a 3 mile radius the median household income is $24,973. The percentage of Latino and African American residents is 95% and only 4% have earned a four year college degree.”

One of the main benefits of an all digital library is that the content can be shared between both locations. The total operating budget of the second location will be a paltry $500,000 for the first year, primarily going to buying more computers, e-readers and hiring staff.

BiblioTech currently deals with more 3rd party e-Book, audiobook, video and academic resources than even Queens or the New York Public Library. Laura said they currently deal with Hoopla for audiobooks, Atomic for software training, Mango for language learning, Comics Plus for comics and graphic novels, 3M Clod Library for e-books and audio books, One Click Digital also for audio books, Image Quest for rights-cleared images, AZ Databases – Search for people and companies, Heritage Quest for Genealogy, Newsbank for digital newspapers and they just subscribed to Ancestry.Com for on-site use at the library.

With all of these different companies having content distribution deals with Bilbiotech,  it opens up a number of opportunities for other digital focused organizations to make their pitch. PressReader would likely be one of the big players who could see solid traction at the second location, their digital newspaper solution has been firmly embraced by hundreds of locations throughout the US, including San Francisco Public.  I could also see Baker and Taylor’s Axis 360 program do quite well.

All digital libraries will be an emerging trend for the next few years. A new initiative in Omaha is taking over a closed down Borders bookstore and converting it into a multi-thousand square foot digital library. They are not just billing it as a place to get e-Books but a nexus where local entrepreneurs can create the next breakout technologies.

Although the Omaha crew have not had formal discussion yet with BiblioTech, many other prospective locations are. “We have been approached by several other cities interested in setting up digital libraries.” said Laura Cole, “we are more than happy to help and share our experiences. We learned a lot – what did right – what we could have done better – things we never considered.”

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Libraries in all over the world are undergoing a digital renaissance as major publishers have firmly committed themselves to the concept of making e-Books available. Today, we look at some of the biggest trends facing libraries in Canada, US and United Kingdom.

A recent report by the Library Journal has stated that 95% of all US libraries have an e-book collection. That’s up from 89% in both 2013 and 2012, when researchers thought that adoption had plateaued for good. The average number of e-books carried was 20,244 by each library, but that of course was skewed toward large libraries. Medium sized libraries statistically had around 10,434 titles.

Over 10 different libraries in the US and Canada had over one million digital loans in 2014, with two libraries lending out two million e-Books. This number will likely double in 2015, as companies like 3M Cloud Library and Baker and Taylor begin to gain further traction.

e-Books are doing quite well in the US, but over in the UK a sustainable model is still trying to be established by the government, libraries and major publishers.   In May 2013 the UK government funded a review looking into the viability of allowing customers to borrow eBook, without all of the drama. The Sieghart Review said publishers should not limit the supply of e-books in the same way that physical book loans are controlled, including the lending of each digital copy to one reader at a time, securely removing eBooks after lending and having digital books “deteriorate after a number of loans”.

A pilot project was initiated in four UK libraries in March 2014 that augmented the digital loaning period for up to 21 days and included a number of front-list titles, including bestsellers that just came out. The essence of the pilot is to carry out real-time, real-world research into the impact of eBook lending in public libraries on authors, publishers and on the library service so that a suitable and sustainable model.

Its been around six months since the pilot was first initiated and there has been some interesting findings. All four participating authorities have seen a significant increase in e-lending,  with longer loan periods leading to more titles being borrowed. The project has also found the increase in e-lending is not decreasing physical lending or footfall to libraries. They also found customers were not using the “Buy it Now” button to purchase an e-book.

Audiobooks to be the next big thing


In 2007 a paltry 3,073 audiobook titles were produced and this figure rose exponentially to over 12,000 published in 2011. In 2013 many industry experts proclaimed that over 20,000 audiobooks were now available and in 2014 over 35,000 were released by major publishers and companies like Audible.

The global audiobook industry is currently worth 2.6 billion dollars and part of the reason why we have seen a dramatic increase in profitability is due to digital. In a recent  New York Times piece, they said “In the first eight months of 2014, sales were up 28% over the same period last year, far outstripping the growth of e-books, which rose 6%”

Digital audiobooks are finally starting to find their stride thanks to libraries embracing them in a big way. There are a number of major players providing audio services to libraries, 3M Cloud Library, Baker & Taylor, Hoopla and Overdrive. For the most part, these are the exact same companies that provide the libraries e-Book portfolio.

Many of the top audiobook distributors lean on 3rd parties for a full catalog of content. 3M and Baker and Taylor both get their audio editions from Findaway World, which is current market leader in production. Findaway has a catalog of over 50,000 titles and maintains production studios, narrators and crew in New York. Overdrive has their own internal solution, where they approach publishers directly and don’t do business with companies such as Audible or Findaway World.

Tom Mercer, Marketing Manager of 3M Cloud Library said “we see a tremendous opportunity to grow in the Audio space in 2015. Right now we’re two weeks into the “real world” of Audio, but customers really seem to like our solution. Our initial Beta feedback from very positive.”

Hoopla is an audiobook solution for libraries that floats under the radar, but are quickly making a name for themselves. The company has a catalog of 13,000 titles with 1,000 added each month. Hoopla deals with over 100 libraries in the US and charges no licensing fees with setting up the system, which is quite appealing to the average library. How does Hoopla make money? The company has employed the Pay Per Use model, which only charges the library when a specific title is checked out by a patron. The San Francisco Public Library said they are are predicting that in 2015 more companies will embrace the Hoopla model, which will lower costs for libraries and get more content in-front of the patrons.

How well are the publishers doing in the audiobook sector? Cheryl Herman, marketing director for Penguin Random House’s Books on Tape & Listening Library said. “Our library sales for digital audio are up nearly 35% over 2014, we’re offering more and more titles on audio, and we’re not alone in that. There are also more players entering the market, and more titles overall being published than ever before.”

In 2015 digital audiobooks will gain further traction in libraries due to tapes and CD’s no longer being economically viable. Overdrive, the current leader in audiobook sales for libraries are developing a HTML5 based streaming solution that will allow patrons to listen to audiobooks without the need of the Overdrive Media Console.  This will be tremendously beneficial to users who employ alternative operating systems on their mobile devices, such as Firefox OS, Blackberry or Tizen.

Digital Newspapers and Magazines to gain more traction


Thousands of libraries are starting to embrace digital newspapers and magazine content. They are doing this because not only are the latest issues available but also back issues.

One of the ways this type of content is really shining is attributed to libraries installing tablets and e-readers in their different branches.  One example of this is the San Francisco Public Library system unveiling their new e-news center at their main branch and has since expanded it to Chinatown and North Beach. The premise is to draw attention to the virtues of reading digital magazines and newspapers on a bunch of Apple iPads. The actual content is provided by Vancouver based PressReader, who is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the library sector.

Pressreader might very well be the largest company involved in distributing newspaper and magazine titles to libraries, but the limited competition is prompting new entrants to enter the market. EBSCO Information Services introduced Flipster in October. It  allows library patrons to browse the latest issues of high quality digital versions of popular magazines on iOS.

Senior Vice President for Product Management, Michael Laddin says that Flipster is a new way for EBSCO customers to provide content to their end users. “By providing a high quality digital reading experience for library patrons, whether they are at the library or accessing the digital magazines remotely, Flipster offers a unique approach for experiencing content in popular magazines as well as extending library services in an exciting new way. It has been designed especially for library patrons who want to browse the latest issues of popular magazines. Flipster complements EBSCO’s full-text databases (e.g., MasterFILE, MAS, Business Source, etc.) which enable patrons to research topics of interest to them.”

Not only are libraries leaning on 3rd parties to provide their digital newspapers and magazines, but some are actually digitizing it themselves. The Brooklyn Public Library system recently announced a new initiative to digitize backlist newspaper archives in order to make them available to the public via their online portal. This initiative, which will make all copies of the original Brooklyn newspaper,The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, available digitally. The original content was stored on microfilm from the Library of Congress.

I scan Google News for library news every single day and I have noticed a huge uptick in libraries announcing new partnerships for digital magazines and newspapers. Every week between 5 and 25 locations are buying into this concept and there is obvious value to their patrons. By going digital, they last forever and unlike e-Books there is not a one book, one lend policy. Magazines can be loaned out in abundance, which makes them a stellar value proposition. Likely in 2015, we will start to see even more companies entering this space to compete against PressReader and Zinio.

Here and There


The Queens Library system in New York has developed their own proprietary app for Android and iOS. It offers library patrons seamless search and access to audiobooks from Acoustik, magazines from Zinio, and eBooks from OverDrive and Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360 platform. Other features include location, mapping, and contact information for each branch, a catalog search, an ISBN barcode scanning function that enables users to scan books in retail environments to see if titles are available at their library, an events schedule that enables registration, an “ask a librarian” live chat service, a contact information form, and even a text-to-donate option.

Since the apps launch in July they had 5,400 installations on iOS and more than 3,300 on Android. This has prompted Queens to start marketing the app creation service to smaller branches with little to no IT investment. One app to rule them all, this will be big in 2015.

One of the big trends in 2014 was new libraries forgoing books altogether and embracing digital 100%. The first library to do this was the Bibliotech in Austin and Omaha announced plans to construct one in 2015.

In 2015 more libraries will begin to offer their e-Book collections to residents living outside that particular county or city. Charging non-residents $50 to $75 a year will help offset that libraries digital investment and provide an alternative revenue stream to invest in better catalog.

In early 2014 Overdrive and Smashwords signed a new agreement to get 200,000 indie titles available to the library. Right now on the backend collection managers are finding it hard to select and purchase quality content. Look for this to change in 2015, I heard its going to be more refined. I have also heard rumors that other self-publishing companies such as LULU and maybe even Kindle Direct Publishing to get involved in this space.


Russia has unveiled new plans to launch a National Digital Library in 2015. The Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky said that the new initiative will transform local libraries into modern information and cultural hubs, adding that citizens’ access to the service will be via the internet with a single electronic library ticket.

“Next year we will launch a national electronic library, set to be the largest collection of online texts, books, magazines in Russia” Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky told regional governors. “We will send you an approved model of a library, the implementation of which will allow the libraries to be turned into modern information and cultural centres at minimum cost.

The intention behind the National Library is to be able to give smaller branches the ability to offer wireless internet access and tap into e-Books. There are only a few thousand digital editions currently available in most of the modern libraries, such as Moscow and Murmansk.

It is currently unknown who will be providing the e-Books. Currently in Russia most of the libraries only offer academic and historical digital editions. The type of content that is primarily used for educational purposes and not leisure reading.

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The San Francisco Library system first started to get involved in loaning out digital content 2009. They started very modestly with one vendor and now deal with over nine different companies to ensure their patrons will have the latest audiobooks, digital magazines, e-Books and streaming video.

In 2014 the San Francisco Public Library maintained an operating budget of $11.5 million dollars, which 25% of it was invested into digital products. They have an extensive collection provided by Overdrive, Baker & Taylor, Hoopla, Alexander Street Press, Safari, Ebsco, Gale, PressReader, Recorded Books.  In addition to fiction and non-fiction content, they also have a ton of reference content from Gale, EBSCO, Proquest and other smaller vendors.

Patrons are loving their heavily curated collections and the library reported 10,036,860  loans of print and audiovisual materials and 808,093 audiobooks, e-Books and digital magazines in 2014.

In August 2014 the San Francisco Public Library system unveiled their new e-news center at their main branch and has since expanded it to Chinatown and North Beach. The premise is to draw attention to the virtues of reading digital magazines and newspapers on a bunch of Apple iPads. The actual content is provided for free to patron by Vancouver based PressReader, who is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with.

One of the big developments in the library industry in the last few years is major publishers finally coming around to the idea that just because an e-Book is loaned out for free, it does not devalue the product.  Due to extensive lobbying of the American Library Association, all publishers are now involved. This provides challenges, because they all have a different program. Some allow a certain number of loans before a title has to be repurchased and others charge an arm and a leg, but don’t expire. Laura Lent explained how the SFPL copes “There are good and bad points with each pricing model, and it does present management challenges to keep track of it all and make wise purchasing and licensing decisions.  More publishers seem to be interested in annual or two-year license expiration dates, which makes the HarperCollins 26 circulation model look good in comparison.”

She went on the elaborate “The main focus for us is to ensure we don’t end up with a huge renewal bill in a year.  We have placed regular weekly orders for titles that will expire in a year or two, so that the renewal lists will be manageable.  Now that we are finally seeing those renewal lists come in, we are working on a process to review titles and decided if we need to repurchase. You have to look closely at the reports, since while one copy may be expiring, it isn’t always clear if there are more copies available which are not yet expiring. If we opt to not repurchase, then we need to make sure we delete the bib record.”

The library is starting to see massive traction on their digital collection, but continues to look towards the future. Soon, Zinio magazines will be available in the e-news center, which gives patrons a number of titles, including National Geographic.  They also are predicting that in 2015 more companies will embrace the Hoopla model, which provides the library with their entire content catalog and adhere to the pay-per-use model.

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Ten different libraries in Canada and the United States had over one million e-Book checkouts in 2014, a significant increase from the six libraries that achieved the milestone in 2013.

Overdrive has the largest presence all over the world, but tends to focus on North America the most. The company is the market leader when it comes to hooking up libraries with the power to purchase and distribute audiobooks and e-Books for patrons to borrow.  Not only have 10 libraries hit over a million or more downloads, but Toronto Public Library and King County Library System had over two million.

The following libraries have joined the 2014 Million Digital Checkouts Club:

New York Public Library (NY): (42%)

Seattle Public Library (WA): (35%)

Hennepin County Library (MN): (33%)

Los Angeles Public Library (CA): (56%) 

Cleveland Public Library (OH): (25%)

Calgary Public Library (AB): (30%)

Cuyahoga County Public Library (OH): (35%)

Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (OH): (42%)

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