Does anyone offer ebooks in their church library?  I would like to do this, but have no idea where to start.  Any information would be greatly appreciated.

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Glenn and all, my husband and I were discussing all of this the other day while I was dreaming about it. LOL.  I ran up against a possible concern and wonder if you could address it or give your thoughts.


My understanding of Overdrive is that they create a website to mimic yours so that it looks and feels like what your patrons are used to.  Some selections in a public library, and I assume on Overdrive, are not God-honoring.  The way they have this set up means that our patrons could go to our church website, click on Overdrive to access their database, and then select items for download that I personally would not want our church connected to.  Is there any concern about the appearance of impropriety if we can't control what people are accessing through the site?

I talked to Overdrive a week or two ago and my understanding is that your patrons can only download the books you have chosen and bought for your library.  Those will be the only ones accessible to your patrons. 

On Oct. 23 Glenn McEowen wrote:

The "consortium" collection titles are equally available to each library's patrons. (Consider this remarkable value: pay for, say, 60 titles yet have access to 700! ... and that's just the first year!)>>

I wonder about the cost of adding books. I'd expect more than an ebook for the Kindle.

What happens to the "books" if a library drops out of the consortium?

Will we see virtual church libraries with no physical facilities?

That's a fair question, Buford, and one that should be considered before we all 'jump in.' In my conversations with Overdrive, I understood their per-title cost to be some what higher than the competitive retail market price.

While I don't really like that, I think there is precedent in the traditional library market. Because libraries expect high usage for their books, some purchase titles with "library (sturdy) bindings" at a premium cost. While our church library doesn't do that, we do add protective covers our books. That imposes some extra cost just because it is a "high use" library book. To me, therefore, It doesn't seem too out-of-line to pay a more for an eBook title. Ebooks are 'high usage" items, they just don't show "wear and tear."

Another good question: If a church drops out of the consortium, it forfeits access to the collection and to the titles it purchased. The church's titles,  however, remain in the consortium collection.

"Will we see virtual church libraries with no physical facilities?" Personally, I find that a scary thought. How do we minister to our members without the face-to-face contact? I don't know the answer to that, but I know God is capable of making it work in ways I've never imagined.

For the foreseeable future, I expect we will keep our traditional libraries and provide the eBook services within that context. Our church library ministry will continue to grow and evolve as we discover just what God has in mind.

While we have lost quite a few to e-books, we still gain new patrons every week.  We have many, many families who like actual books with paper pages.  Maybe one day physical libraries will be gone - - - or they will be computer terminals but I think we have quite a few more years to go before that happens - - - at least I hope so.

I agree with everything you said. Give me a book that you can touch, feel, smell, and hear when you turn the pages. I wonder what Andrew Carnegie or Benjamin Franklin or Melville Dewey would say about the E-Books ??

Here is how Overdrive will structure the web pages. They will create a page for each church that links to your consortium's collection, thankfully, not the entire Overdrive catalog. As Lynda Herrinton noted earlier, your church members will only see and be allowed to check out titles from your consortium's collection. You can put that link on your library page.


For additional control, I would also suggest "cataloging" each consortium TITLE into your library catalog. Add the Overdrive title link (a unique link for each title...provided by Overdrive) into your library software's data record. Assuming your catalog is available on the web, your members will have a direct link to each title's check out page. 

More very helpful information and advice, Glenn.  Thanks so much for helping us all with this!

Glenn, I am wondering at what point it would be useful to contact Overdrive to propose doing a consortium here in Southern California (or other areas of the US).

Should we give them a few months to figure out the Texas situation, or is it a good idea to notify them of our interest here as soon as possible?


Do you have any suggestions for us?

I honestly don't know how responsive Overdrive will be just yet. On the other hand, it couldn't hurt to be on their "radar."


You might also start conversing with nearby church librarians to see what the interest is. Now that we have a cost, we can begin to strategize how best to pay for it. As some other posts have suggested, we will probably have to be pretty creative.

Glenn, another couple of thoughts.

1) We are open to the public.  Would we still be able to provide ebooks to the patrons who have a church home elsewhere or have no church home, or would we be limited to offering this only to folks on our rolls because of the pricing tiers.

2) If a title is in the consortium collection, is there a limit on how many people can have it checked out at one time?  If it is a high-demand title (and let's say there are 6 members of the consortium) could we have 6 - or more - of the same title to increase the number of people who could have that title at one time?

1) We did talk to Overdrive about participation by non-church members. While I can't say exactly how they look at this, I got the sense that as long as the non-members were a small percentage, it would be no problem. They realize we can't control this completely.


2) Currently Overdrive is permitting just the "one title-one reader at a time" check-out process. They indicated this was a limitation imposed by the publishers. When the publishers permit it, Overdrive is ready to manage "single title-multiple reader" check-out. This will probably mean, however, that a title purchase will be for a total number of check-outs instead of unlimited. Most publishers still allow an unlimited number of check-outs so long as only one person has it at a a print book.


If your consortium wants to provide a single title to multiple readers at a time, they will need to buy several copies of popular titles. I like this efficiency since, say, your six libraries would ordinarily buy 6 print copies of the book whereas the consortium might get by with only 3 or 4 eBook copies. Also, the consortium might order only 1 or 2 copies at first until it is determined how popular a title actually becomes. Add duplicate titles later as needed thereby avoiding unnecessary purchases.




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