Ohio’s Public Library eBook Project

I attended the Northern Ohio Technical Services Librarians Conference today and one of the speakers was Nicole Merriman from the State Library of Ohio.  Nicole provided details on the Ohio eBook Project, a statewide public library consortium purchasing eBooks and audio books through OverDrive.  Academic and school libraries are not able to join the program anymore because OverDrive now offers an academic and school product.

About the Ohio eBook project (Many other states and regions have consortia programs too)

  • 40 libraries
  • subsidized by the State Library of Ohio
  • Libraries share all content, with a few exceptions
  • 14,000 copies of over 9,500 titles
  • over 473K checkouts since 2005
  • Patrons can check out up to 10 items and have 10 items on hold
  • checkout period is 7 or 14 days
  • Formats – WMA/MP3, EPUB, Adobe PDF, Mobipocket
  • Some video in WMV format
  • Vendor is OverDrive
  • Library should be SIP compliant
  • each library provides primary patron support and the SLO and OverDrive offer secondary support
  • one-copy one-user model, with a few exceptions for mass access titles (cost, copyright, and publishers prevent multi-user access)
  • mobile access too


  • $1500 setup fee to OverDrive
  • First year, pledge at least 1% of print book, mono, and AV collection budget (min $500)
  • Subsequent years – up to 5%
  • Pay $1.50 for each new title purchased that is new to the OEP collection (doesn’t add up to much)

Consider before joining:

  • Instant access to growing pool of content
  • Individual library decides what content to buy
  • MARC record access
  • Reciprocal borrowing with SEO Consortium Digital Access and Download Collection, so patrons can borrow 10 titles from each collection (local and SEO) for a total of 20 titles.
  • Solid Vendor – OverDrive
  • Tech hurdle for some patrons
  • No downloading in the library (without a specific license for OverDrive download stations in the library, right now it’s for audio only)
  • Bandwidth in your community
  • Only one vendor from which to buy content, currently
  • If you leave the consortium, your content stays with the consortium
  • OverDrive Advantage program – individual libraries can buy titles just for their patrons, which aren’t shared with the consortium

Care and feeding of MARC records

  • Acquiring/archiving MARC records – via OCLC FTP server for new records, archived by OhioNET for older records
  • provider-neutral records – search for dups in case you have the same title from another vendor
  • serialized graphic novels are now offered
  • libraries are good at sharing local practices
  • titles have not been weeded yet, but it is something that needs to be done
  • availability is not displayed in the catalog…. patrons don’t see this until they click on the title