After coronavirus-concerns forced Sno-Isle Libraries to close its community libraries on March 13, digital resources are moving to the forefront.
“Collection Services has been working to support our customers and community while remote services are our priority,” said Jessica Russell, Assistant Director of Collection Services for Sno-Isle Libraries. “We have moved money from print budgets to digital budgets to support increased demand for digital materials.”
Collection Development staff have used their subject-area expertise to expand areas of Sno-Isle Libraries digital collection on Overdrive.
“We’re purchasing digital materials to support our customers’ new needs, whether that’s sourdough baking or career development,” Russell said.
Since Sno-Isle Libraries customers can’t access physical materials, digital circulation is up 22 percent compared to the start of 2020, she said.
“We see our digital usage increasing as customers take advantage of the range of digital resources Sno-Isle Libraries has to offer,” Russell said.
Since March 13, Sno-Isle Libraries has acquired more digital copies of materials in order to reduce wait times. Russell said Sno–Isle Libraries increased spending 47 percent on Overdrive holds as more customers used the digital collections. The Overdrive checkout limit was increased from 20 items per month to 30 items.
The top digital title for April was “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” with 1,005 checkouts. It’s available for unlimited use through May in ebook and audiobook formats.
Sno-Isle Libraries has created a Book Club Room with book lists highlighting titles and books that are always available with no waiting and are great for discussion. There are new “Always Available” titles for kids and teens, with a focus on grades 3-5, middle grades and high school. The titles are available in the Book Club room, the Kids room and the Teens room.
With streaming services, Sno-Isle Libraries customers can check out 15 titles on Hoopla and Kanopy, up from 10 per month.
Hoopla is offering a Bonus Borrow collection, available through May 31, and Kanopy is offering its Credit Free collection. These titles are free for libraries and don’t count against a customer’s checkouts.
Sno-Isle Libraries now offers RBDigital Unlimited, with thousands of magazine titles to browse. RBDigital Comics offers unlimited access to a range of comics and graphic novels for all ages. This collection includes popular series like Spiderman, My Little Pony and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The future of Sno-Isle Libraries is not completely digital. Librarians are still looking for printed books to add to the collection.
“Selection staff are continuing to select print materials and are building orders of high–demand materials for future purchase once we can accept deliveries,” Russell said. “Customers are still able to place holds on print materials, and we monitor the high–demand hold lists on a weekly basis.”
Russell said fewer print holds have been placed as coronavirus-related restrictions continue.
“We recognize that physical materials remain important for many of our customers, but we also see our digital usage increasing as customers take advantage of the range of digital resources Sno-Isle Libraries has to offer,” she said.