OverDrive is an online platform that provides students, faculty and staff access to a variety of eBooks and audiobooks. UNC Libraries started offering the service in 2020, joining thousands of other school libraries across the world. OverDrive is an online platform that provides students, faculty and staff with access to a variety of e-books and audiobooks. UNC Libraries started offering the service in 2020, joining thousands of other school libraries across the world.
Suchi Mohanty, the interim director of Access Services and head of the Undergraduate Library, said University Libraries looked for ways to positively support students as classes transitioned toward remote pandemic learning.
The Student Library Advisory Board recommended that the libraries subscribe to OverDrive.
Katelyn Ander, the media center manager at the Undergraduate Library, said eBooks and audiobooks are commonly used on the platform. Student use of audiobooks has been extremely popular, she said, and the UNC OverDrive has seen spikes in the use during school breaks.
“I think some of that in itself was exacerbated by COVID too,” she said. “I think people were looking for ways to not be looking at screens as much or to have some other way to have that experience — that reading experience — without having to just stare at a page or do more reading on top of what they were already doing.”
Ander said she’s excited that students can access the collection at any time, especially when they’re away from campus during break.
UNC’s OverDrive collection is geared toward leisure reading, so University Libraries selects books that are relevant to the students and campus community’s interests.
Zuzelle Ramos, a student employee at the Undergraduate Library who works on developing the OverDrive collection, said students are able to request books that they’d like to see in UNC’s collection.
The University’s collection currently has over 3,500 titles.
The collection offers books of all genres. Students can find many of the latest popular novels and check out books on OverDrive using their Onyen.
“We definitely have tried to build a collection from the ground up that has a diverse range of titles, represents a wide variety of experiences and stories that we hope is reflective of our campus community,” Ander said.
University Libraries has partnered with student and campus organizations, including the Carolina Latinx Center, to use UNC’s OverDrive as a way to promote books that share broad cultural perspectives and relate to each organization’s mission. They hope to continue connecting with more organizations in the same fashion.
Library staff also curated the “Asian Pacific American Voices” collection to celebrate the upcoming Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
Mohanty said UNC’s OverDrive has received positive feedback across the library. She said it’s a valuable resource to the University community because it allows people to access eBooks and audiobooks in a versatile and accessible format.
“Sometimes you just need a break mentally from everything that's going on in your life, and that's what reading is for, right? It's like an escape,” Ramos said. “And, I'm just really glad that I have these free books because books are expensive. I don't want to go to Barnes & Noble and spend $30 on a book when I could just get it on OverDrive.”
University Libraries plans to post a list of books recommended by students and staff on OverDrive in partnership with National Library Week, which begins on April 23.
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