15 September 2008

Open Training Month: Patron Support

I am sitting in on the Open Training Month session "Patron Support: Become an OverDrive Download Media Specialist" this morning, and thought I would share some of the tips I gathered from the session.

Staff success
Our trainer pointed out that all staff should have tried to use the downloadable audio book service, culminating in the successful download of a title; that you should know the basic steps, so that you may assist patrons; and that you should be a cheerleader, advocating the service to patrons. Practice does go a long way! Have you downloaded a title and transferred it to a device? You can also try the Quick Start guide or the Guided Tour, available at the top right of the Listen Up! page.

Info on iPods
The WMA files for audio books are half the size of the mp3 files for audio books. This will be important to keep in mind for our patrons, when the mp3 format (which is the iPod compatible format) becomes available -- they may be extremely difficult for some of our patrons on dial up to download. When we can choose, the titles will come from 12 publishers, and approximately 3,000 titles will be available to purchase from (as opposed to the over 20,000 available in the WMA format). Also, at this time, patrons still need to use the OverDrive Media Console to facilitate downloading, and that is only Windows-compatible. That means patrons with iPods will still need to have access to a PC to download a title -- they cannot use a Mac. OverDrive hopes that the Mac-compatible version will be available by the end of the year.

Trouble downloading
The most prevalent trouble patrons have is having incompatible, missing, or corrupted digital rights management (DRM) licenses. Many times, these can be resolved by going to Tools > Windows Media Player Security Upgrade, which updates your DRM licenses.
If a patron has trouble downloading a part of an audio book, the patron should:
  • delete the problem part from \My Documents\My Media
  • clear the cache of temporary files
  • try re-downloading the part from the OverDrive Media Console
  • contact support at vtaudiobooks@gmail.com
  • if it is whenever a patron tries to download, as opposed to one part of one file, they may want to reinstall the OverDrive Media Console
Training sessions for patrons
OverDrive partner libraries suggest scheduling a how-to workshop on using OverDrive/Listen Up! Vermont for patrons when you have another program scheduled, when you have a guaranteed audience.

They also suggest holding it always at the same time -- every Tuesday afternoon, for example. Even if someone doesn't come every week, we all know the power of regularly scheduled programs.

Or, how about having a table/booth at an area fair or town event showcasing the service? Many of us do this well at Town Meeting! Or, maybe a Digital Book Club -- a great way to use our Maximum Access titles.

I will also be attending the Community Outreach session later in the month, and will share the ideas I hear there.

Have you attended an Open Training Month session? Let us know what you learned in the comments.

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