Case Study: Cuyahoga County Public Library – Encore with OverDrive provides convenient, integrated access to CCPL users

Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Public Library (“CCPL”) celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2013 by opening six new branches, earning Library Journal’s prestigious 5-Star rating, and topping the list of U.S. public library systems in per capita circulation for the fourth consecutive year. With a circulation of almost 20 million items in 2013, CCPL’s vision is to be the most convenient public library in the United States.

Challenge

Although CCPL has a circulation record that any public library would be proud of, Executive Director Sari Feldman and her staff were keenly aware that catalog access to print, digital and online materials was not as integrated and seamless as it should be, causing headaches for both patrons and staff.

CCPL was a longtime user of both the OverDrive eBook library and Innovative’s Encore Discovery Solution, but the two systems were separate. Patrons used Encore to access print materials and OverDrive for eBooks, which meant that patrons using both systems had circulation records in two different places.

“Our goal was full catalog integration,” says Joe Salamon, Internet Specialist at CCPL. “Many of our print users didn’t even know there were e-Books, and our e-Book savvy patrons had to go to a separate website to access materials on OverDrive. We knew there had to be a better way.”


“Once the effort got underway, the integration came together more quickly than we expected – just six months after the project was launched. Everyone was highly motivated.”

—Daniel Barden Technical Services Director at CCPL


Solution

As an active library user herself, Sari could see the problems patrons were having and understood what needed to happen. Librarians have been calling for full catalog integration for many years, and the Innovative staff and their OverDrive counterparts were eager to integrate their products.

“Once the integration effort got underway, the integration came together more quickly than we expected – just six months after the project was launched,” says Daniel Barden, Technical Services Director at CCPL. “Everyone was highly motivated.”

“Getting to the finish line was pretty simple from our point of view,” added Joe. “By the time I was seeing the integration, Innovative and OverDrive were pretty far along. My role was to help with testing, provide feedback on improving usability, and make suggestions for future enhancements. ”

CCPL was the first library to go live on the Encore/OverDrive integration on January 16, 2014. The launch was made quietly without a lot of public fanfare.

“It was a soft launch – it was just there,” says Joe. “I would say it was successful. If patrons aren’t calling me, it’s a sign that things are working well.

With the integration of OverDrive eBooks into Encore, Cuyahoga users have an immediate path to eBook and eAudioBook content, including the ability to view samples, place holds, perform check out, and select among eBook platforms such as OverDrive Read for Kindle, as well as web browser and PDF formats. According to Joe, “The Encore/OverDrive integration has become part of the fabric of the library. It works!”


“The partnership between Innovative and OverDrive has really helped us streamline access. Customers no longer need to search in two different places or place holds in two different places. It’s one-stop shopping for our customers and one-stop for discovery.”

—Sari Feldman, Executive Director at CCPL


Results

“The usage of e-materials is increasing every month, while overall circulation is somewhat flat,” says Terry Thompson, Electronic Resources Collection Assistant at CCPL. “We have 27 branches, and if you compare our e-circ to a branch, it’s comparable to one of our busiest branches.”

Since implementation of Encore with OverDrive in January 2014, Cuyahoga has seen eBook circulation climb by over 20% when compared to the same time period in 2013 (January to July). eBook circulation as a percentage of overall circulation has increased from 5.3% to 6.4% during this time.


“OverDrive’s vision when we introduced our APIs was to enable seamless integration and simplify the user experience, and we’re pleased that our partnership with Innovative has yielded such positive results. Innovative has been a strong partner, delivering an outstanding product and working with us collaboratively always with an eye toward improvement.”

—Shannon Lichty, Director of Partner Services at OverDrive


In addition to opening the world of eBooks to a new group of patrons, the Encore/OverDrive integration has eliminated a long-standing thorn in the side of library users and staff. “The partnership between Innovative and OverDrive has really helped us streamline access,” concludes Sari. “Customers no longer need to search in two different places or place holds in two different places. It’s one-stop shopping for our customers and one-stop for discovery.”