Here is an update on the MA eBook Project. The purpose of this pilot project is to explore alternative models that provide ownership of content, short term loans/leasing options and the ability to upload and curate our own local collections of materials.
MLS is still in the process of negotiating agreements with the three vendors chosen for this project. The three vendors are Baker & Taylor, BiblioBoard and EBL. Once the project is launched, the pilot will continue for at least six months.
We have established three critical task force groups that are working on various aspects of the project. They are: Statewide Collection Development & Policies; PR, Promotion & Training; and Funding & Sustainability. Task force members include pilot library representation from all types (academic, public, school and special), Resource Sharing Planning Committee members, staff from MBLC, and staff from MLS.
The Collection Development group has been working with B&T and EBL on building an opening day collection and working on a statewide collection development policy, including the mission and goals of the project, loan guidelines, reconsideration, reviews, suggest-a-title, and self-published guidelines.
The PR, Promotion & Training group has been working on developing materials and a manual for the implementation, launch and training for staff and patrons. We are also working with MBLC to bring a unified message about eBooks with this year’s Legislative Agenda theme.
The Sustainability & Funding group is working with the MLA Legislative Committee to look at ways to support a call to action around access issues, as well as looking at potential funding sources as we move this project statewide. The focus will be on building support with legislators around the Legislative theme to “End the Digital Lockout.”
MBLC has awarded MLS a $150,000 grant to get this pilot project off the ground. This will help offset costs for platform fees, content and promotional materials.
Over 130 pilot library staff, MLS and network staff recently attended training by all three vendors. Libraries and networks are currently working on setting up authentication for implementation, and we hope to begin testing soon.
This is a first step to navigating the eBook environment for a statewide shared collection, with multi-type libraries that make up the MLS membership. We will not meet all the needs of the state; however through the evaluation of the pilot project we will learn more about what will work and what libraries and their patrons want and need to support their literacy goals.
If you would like to follow this project, there is a blog and Resource Guide. I am also happy to answer any questions you may have about this project.