Building an eReader Collection, the Duke University Library experience

November 12th, 2010 · by spolanka · 1 Comment

I attended this fabulous and informative session during the Charleston Conference on building an eReader collection by Aisha Harvey, Nancy Gibbs, and Natalie Sommerville of Duke University Libraries.  I wanted to run my notes past the presenters first, to ensure accuracy, thus the tardiness of this post.

First and foremost, according to the librarians, the eReader lending program is a team approach and impacts every aspect of the way we build collections in libraries – access, selection, cataloging, ref, circ, etc.

Aisha Harvey, head of collections spoke first and provided an overview of the program.  Details:  began circ of kindles in January of this year, began with 18 kindles and then added 6 addition ones and 15 nooks.  Kindle has 1:6 title distribution on the kindle.  So, they call 6 kindles a “pod” and purchase multiple pods.  Pay $10 per title and share with 6 devices, average of $2.00 per title.

How will they build the collection?  decided to build a patron driven collection by looking at the use of their print popular materials.  Any title that circulated more than 3 times would be added to the kindle. They created an email list for the kindle and allow patrons to send a title request to the list.  They would respond within 2 days to the patron and purchase the title and send it to the device immediately.  They stuck with popular titles b/c of feedback from the academic community on the weakness of the devices for scholarly content.  Reading devices are not necessarily research devices.

Are people interested in the Kindles or the content?  They found it was both. They ended up purchasing more Kindles and then additional nooks and now circulate 40+ devices.

Marketing:  Created an eReader libguide and an eReader website to publicize the program.  They also put the titles in the catalog and that’s how most of their users found the devices.  Most found by searching for popular titles they wanted to read.  Also launched a PR campaign to promote the technology (they have a video on their website). Created an RSS feed on the eReader web page for eReader news.

Some recommendations/things they do:

  • patrons sign a waiver before checkout for loss/damage.
  • 2 week checkout
  • buy extra cords
  • named all of their readers and pods
  • Neoprene cases – circulate devices in bags with the power cord and directions from the device.  They also add their own FAQ (which is on the website)
  • Put contact info on the back of the device in case it gets lost.
  • buy the insurance….they’ve had to send back 3 kindles
  • nope, patrons can’t load their own content on the kindle/nook
  • can’t always put 6 titles on a pod; sometimes amazon doesn’t have the rights to offer it on 6 devices, the titles would be taken away without them knowing about it
  • keep a spreadsheet of the titles purchased/loaded on each device

Nancy Gibbs, head of acquisitions.  Acquisitions workflow was needed!  Only way you can do this is with a credit card, they don’t take purchase orders. Purchasing of Kindle titles had everyone in Order management unit participating; currently have one person for purchasing Nook titles. The eReaders are not password protected, so you have to be careful about the information you leave on the account, including the credit card info ;)  They buy the content and remove the credit card info quickly!  Workflow for the kindle and a separate one for the nook. nook – buy one title and put it on as many titles as you want, they put it on 15.  But, some audience members stated they could only put the title on 6 nooks.

Taxes! some amazon and barnes and noble titles are charged tax, and you must file reams of paperwork to get the taxes back. This price/tax is set by the publisher, so if you see “this price was set by the publisher” that’s a sign of possible taxes.  There is no way around this…yet.

Natalie Sommerville, head of cataloging.  Cataloged 75 titles for the kindles at the start and have added 83 new titles since.  A subset of the kindle titles have been added to the nooks.  The main rationale for cataloging was discovery.  They also wanted to get the records out to the library community for wider use.  They also wanted adherence for national cataloging standards. NC State has a great working model.  Most ereader titles require original cataloging.  Scalability is possible, but integration into general workflow is more difficult.  There isn’t enough copy cataloging to do that.

Device Record ties call number, location, and circ policies to the device.  Title level records are also in the device and are linked to the device record.

Assessment:  never been a minute that the eReaders have been available.  Using circulation as a metric, use is high!  Demographics of use, almost evenly split b/t staff, grad students, and undergrads.  Smallest area of use has been the faculty. Amazon doesn’t share information on which titles patrons are using, so they have no idea which titles are popular.  In the future they hope to diversify by adding SONY eReaders.

Categories: Conferences/Events,Ebook Readers,Lending Readers,Library News,Marketing

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Angela S // Nov 19, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Thanks for such a comprehensive report from a librarians’ point of view. As we are a bit behind you in New Zealand we don’t have to repeat the same learnign cycle![generally we can only use kobo, Sony and ipad readers here- unless we have contacts overseas] Kindle is supposed to have started but haven’t heard of anyone operating one here yet. My particular interest is for primary school library use, especially to cope with long reserve lists for popular fiction and for read aloud titles for teachers . For most of this e-book restrictions don’t help a lot so far although 6 uses of a title on a Kindle could be good and would save having extra print titles once popularity dies – also save wear and tear and mending hours on often shabbily bound print copies.
    However, my dream is to be able to load an e-reader with enough ‘suggested’ reading for each pupil for a term/semester or year with a requirement to keep a brief log. Seems like this will never happen but it would make a huge difference to our everyday drudgery and would probably get children reading more as the turnover should be higher.