Connecting Readers and Ebooks at Indianapolis Public Library

The Indianapolis Public Library recognized the growing popularity of e-readers in 2012 and began planning what became known as the “Tinker Station,” an interactive program to help the Indianapolis community navigate the exciting new world of digital material. This mobile program allows library patrons to explore different e-reader devices, and it operates much like a petting zoo.

Trained staff demonstrate and give unbiased information about the e-readers and downloading ebooks. The program helps future users to choose which kind of e-reader will best fit their individual needs. It has traveled to each of the library’s twenty-three locations, and has given library visitors the chance to ask questions about how to download ebooks to their devices via the free Overdrive Media Console app.

In December 2012, the library expanded the program and created a hotline for those individuals who found themselves with a new e-reader following the holidays. The hotline gives new device owners the opportunity to call the library seven days a week, from 1–5 p.m., to ask questions about how to start using their new device.

This phone hotline has given 155 new users (and counting!) a jumpstart on how to use their new devices! However, in a small survey, the library discovered that it was helping just as many individuals who had been using their device for more than a year as it was new device owners. This discovery was encouraging, and proves that the Tinker Station has increased the visibility and usage of the library’s ebook collection. In fact, ebook use has increased by 62 percent since December 2011.

The Indianapolis Public Library will continue to be responsive to the changing needs of ebook readers and help them learn more about how to purchase and download materials to their devices. For more information on how to develop a Tinker Station, please contact me at jerickson@indypl.org or by phone at 317-275-4093.

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