03 September 2008

Listen Up! Vermont in Middlebury

This is a guest post from David Clark, the Director of the Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury.

We are very happy that a core of librarians led by Stephanie Chase of Stowe organized the Green Mountain Library Consortium to provide downloadable audiobooks to participating libraries. Without their help, we would not have been able to offer this to our library members.

Stephanie tells me that we have lent more titles than any other library in the consortium (333 titles downloaded from March through August 2008). How did we do it? Who knows? We, for sure, don’t!

Here is what we have done:

  1. we put a large downloadable audiobook logo on the front page of our website
  2. 8 by 11 inch posters are around the library
  3. we ran a couple of newspaper articles
  4. we mention it frequently in our monthly newsletter and in our occasional e-newsletter
  5. we host help sessions (usually only 1 person shows up but the word is out...)
  6. audiobooks can be downloaded on a small table near the adult circulation desk. Computer speakers draw attention to this service.
  7. we loan 3 small MP3 players for 3 weeks at a time to encourage folks to try the service
  8. it doesn’t hurt that we have Chris Kirby to help folks get started. Chris serves as the tech answer guy for the consortium and he’s usually available by phone or email.
  9. Middlebury has a youngish population who seem willing to try something new

We can’t say that any one thing we’ve done has been determinative. But taken together, small steps enable our members to know that we have this service and make it easy for them to try it.

By the way, several months ago Chris put headphones at every computer and I’m amazed how often folks watch movies/YouTube/etc.. It’s also gotten a little more quiet!

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