As libraries look for news ways to stay relevant and meet their patrons’ needs, increasing numbers of institutions are implementing digital lending. eBook lending, along with movie, music, and audiobook streaming, is helping these entities keep their doors open by offering the content their patrons need in the platforms they want to consumer it.
But one area where digital adoption has traditionally been slow to take root is in children’s and teens’ books, a fact that digital content provider OverDrive is helping to erase with the opportunity for its member libraries to offer digital eReading Rooms. These virtual spaces work much the same as a physical location that caters to young library patrons, but still keeps the need for digital adoption in mind.
A recent blog post from OverDrive outlined how one library in San Antonio is making headway with the incorporation of two eReading Rooms, one for younger readers and one focused specifically for teens.
“The San Antonio Public Library (SAPL) is committed to providing the best possible customer service to our patrons, and kids and teens represent large segments of our patron population. The ability to customize the collections within the eReading Rooms allows us to tailor the content to align with library initiatives like the Summer Reading Program and Teen Tech Week and yearly themed content such as National Poetry Month and Women’s History Month. Also, developmentally appropriate material is now more easily accessible to teachers and parents since content can be searched by reading and interest level. These eReading Rooms bring attention to the great richness of SAPL’s collections, while helping us to accommodate the evolving interest that our patrons have for accessing content digitally,” explained Caitlin Cowart, Community and Public Relations Manager, in the post.
While Cowart went on to explain that a project like this is not a catch-all solution for encouraging reading and library participation, it is a valuable tool for reaching patrons where they are and for making the library an important part of the community for all citizens, not just the few who come to the physical location for content, education, and technology needs.
“The library understands that the digital marketplace is maturing. Remote, online access to library content and resources that is personalized and user-friendly drives the virtual user and positions SAPL as a responsive, innovative resource for a new, technology-conscious generation of library patrons.”