Digi Know? Student Voices Loud and Clear

Since the inception of our regionally developed OverDrive collection we have been both surprised and delighted that it allows us to learn from the students in our twenty-three school districts. My OCM BOCES team strongly believes that student voice and choice is a crucial element in developing the resources we offer. Our OverDrive collection development is reliant on the "Didn't Find What You're Looking For?" feature so that students can make requests. We take those recommendations very seriously and add titles on a weekly basis. We also monitor titles with multiple holds and add additional copies so students have access to the books they want. This collection is primarily student-driven and is a true example of shared collection development.

A completely unexpected benefit is the ability for our librarians to monitor the "Hot Titles" and "Most Popular" collections to get insight from over 60,000 students across the region to gauge which books students truly want to read. This is a quick and easy way to learn about new titles and efficiently spend increasingly tight budgets on titles we can be confident students will borrow. The collection is built with great intentionality to ensure that all students can find books they can identify with or use to develop a deeper understanding. We have found that the anonymity of borrowing eBooks allows students to explore topics and issues that they may be reluctant to explore in print. This anonymity creates an absolute "no judgment" zone for our students.

Students also have the increased benefit of anytime, anywhere, and on any device access. They can sync up to six devices to their account and search multiple libraries. Our students not only have access to the OCM BOCES collection but also to the one at the Onondaga County Public Library, giving them even greater access to a rich, diverse collection. A professional fringe benefit is that OverDrive provides us with opportunities to advocate for both school and public libraries in our educational settings while highlighting the importance of pleasure and informational reading beyond the school year.

This month has been the tip of the iceberg. Next month I look forward to exploring OverDrive through the eyes of teachers.

About the Author

Doreen Bergman, MSLIS, is the School Library System Director for the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES. She holds New York state certifications in the areas of educational administration, childhood education, and school media. She received her master’s degree from Syracuse University and was both an elementary and high school librarian as well as a classroom teacher. Her priority is to empower and support school librarians as educational leaders and collaborative co-teachers so that their library programs continue to positively impact student learning and achievement.

Entry ID: 1966901

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