Ultimately, I can see a number of possibilities that the Douglas County experiment and related ones are opening up for the library world. The more America’s public libraries can do on their own, the more bargaining power they will enjoy will companies like OverDrive—paving the way, I’d hope, for the eventual purchase of OverDrive as a shortcut to a well-stocked national digital library system. OverDrive has been spent years dealing with publishers and hosts “more than 650,000 premium digital titles,” including its share of books from the majors.
The most promising aspect of this project (as I understand it) is that it involves very little participation by outside companies. Its the ebook version of the library buying equipment (shelves) and putting their own materials on it. The alternative is a vendor owning the shelves and standing between the library and the owner of the content.
We’ve dealt directly with musicians, who have leased us the rights to offer their music as part of the project. Our leases cover local material, sometimes out of print, and even live shows. As a result of this exposure, we hope new fans will go to a local show around town or even purchase copies of more recent records from these musicians. It’s also our hope that this model catches on, and other libraries adopt it, leading to a revenue stream for local musicians.
We’re happy to answer questions about our new service. Please contact us for more information.
Its also very important to note that the library is compensating the local artists:
The library invested about $5,000 from its collection budget in the project to compensate the artists for the right to distribute their work for two years.
Local blues artist Catfish Kieth — who has three albums available for download through the project — said it gives people a way to feel good about downloading music for free.
“The public gets free music, and the artists are compensated. It’s a good thing,” Keith said.
There was likely funds put to developing or implementing software for the project, but $5,000 is an incredibly small amount from a collections budget.
And, this is 100 percent exactly where I want the library to go. Curating local content should be the wheel house of any local library system. It could very well move beyond music and enter the realm of local history and writing projects.
For example, last night because of the trustee meeting in Hoquiam, we booted a writers group out of the main meeting room (sorry about that guys!). They had started coming together because of a six-week writing course put on by the Hoquiam branch. Now that they’re meeting regularly, why couldn’t the library host an ebook editions of their work?