Austin library to have access to Rochester eBooks; New agreement brings eBooks offered to 30,000

Published 7:58 am Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Southeastern Libraries Cooperating (SELCO) and Rochester Public Library (RPL) announced on Monday they are teaming up to offer more digital titles to southeast Minnesota residents.

Under the OverDrive Reciprocal Lending Agreement (RLA), library cardholders have greater access to eBooks and audiobooks in each organization’s OverDrive digital collection. The agreement allows the regional library system and the Rochester library to offer digital books similarly to the way the two organizations share physical materials.

“It’s a good thing for us because it means all of our
patrons will have access to the RPL eBooks.”
– Julie Clinefelter,
Austin Public Library Director

“Our patrons have been requesting this type of service for years,” RPL’s Head of Readers Services Kim Edson said in a press release. “The lending option wasn’t available previously, but it’s been something we’ve investigated with SELCO over the years.”

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Austin Public Library Director Julie Clinefelter said the agreement will increase the number of eBooks available through SELCO from over 17,000 to approximately 30,000.

“It’s a good thing for us because it means all of our patrons will have access to the RPL eBooks,” she said.

The RLA agreement was approved in late spring by the governing boards of both RPL and SELCO, and the two organizations launched the new service at the end of June.

“We wanted to work out any potential issues before formally announcing the agreement,” SELCO Executive Director Krista Ross said in a press release. “However, the OverDrive platform is intuitive enough that we already have users engaging with this new service.”

The popularity of Libby, a digital reading app, has, in part, led to an increase in circulation for digital titles. At RPL, the circulation of digital materials increased 8 ½ percent in 2017 with over 550,000 digital downloads from OverDrive and other digital services. At SELCO, users accessed 175,000 titles in 2017, an increase of 4.6 percent from 2016.

“We continue to see our digital collection being more popular,” Edson said. “We hope that by giving all residents in the SELCO region the ability to access both collections, we will help meet the demand and maximize the use of our respective collections.”

“It’s a really great thing,” Clinefelter said.