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SWON News: The Low Down

Overdrive, or Out of Gas?

Thursday, October 09, 2014  
Posted by: Nathan Swartzendruber
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After buying my dad a Kindle, I was describing to him how to check out library ebooks from Overdrive. Go here to find his library’s Overdrive site, sign in, find an ebook, select the Kindle version, checkout, sign in to his Amazon account, etc. He looked at me skeptically and asked, “They expect people to figure all this out?”

They do. Overdrive does try to help, with an extensive support site. But just as much, the site highlights how complex and fragmented their system is. They’re “getting started” article links to 13 detailed guide sections, which include multiple sub-guides and quite a few videos.

But the videos, too, only show parts of the process. The Kindle Fire–perhaps the e-reader most easily integrated to Overdrive–has 8 instructional videos available in its section, and none show the process from start to finish. It’s no surprise that people drop their devices on library reference desks in frustration.

That’s where we come in, whether we’re eager to troubleshoot patrons’ devices or not. If Overdrive’s documentation isn’t good enough, we can make it better. Have you created instructions or support documents for Overdrive or other digital assets? If you’re willing to share them, send them to and we’ll post them to our website. Or share what you want at instruction guide to include. Let’s see what we can build, together.

  • Nathan Swartzendruber, Technology Educator

Overdrive Support: More Than One

No patron wants to hear, “Sorry, there’s only one person on staff who can help you with ebooks, and she’s not here right now.” It can be a challenge to get more staff trained, though, especially if you don’t have devices to practice with.

At SWON’s Staff Training Symposiumjust two weeks away–one of our break-out sessions covers Overdrive. It’s not just an informational session. You’ll see live demos of Overdrive and the steps required to load ebooks onto devices.

Add some Overdrive support at your library at the Staff Training Symposium at Boone County Public Library in Burlington (KY) on October 22nd: Register here.

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