A blog from the Ontario Library Service

Growing Digital Collections During COVID-19

I hope that this posting finds you all well as you continue to adjust to the current situation! With branches closed, many patrons have turned their focus to digital collections. For some this is nothing new, but the stats certainly show that usage has increased significantly.

For some patrons, this time has allowed them to discover your library’s digital collection and become first-time users. When physical branches do re-open, many will continue to use both print and digital resources, and I do not expect usage levels to drop back to pre-closure levels.

I’ve heard from several libraries that are re-directing funds previously used for print collections and spending them on digital collections instead. The catch: trying to avoid long-term costs that may not be sustainable when the need for print spending returns.

Here are some suggestions for short-term, flexible spending:

  • Current OverDrive members can join the Advantage Program and purchase additional titles that only their patrons can access. The initial cost is $250 USD which acts a content credit to get you started, and afterwards libraries only pay for what they purchase. There are no additional platform or membership fees, and nothing to cancel if you pause or stop buying titles.


  • If you have been considering French digital content, the annual membership fee to access Cantook Station through SOLS is reasonable, and libraries can join at any point during the year.


  • If you had your eye on a product from last year’s Provincial Licensing offerings, vendors are obligated to pro-rate latecomers for a partial license that covers the remainder of 2020. Please contact vendors directly for quotes.


  • Some of the vendors that participated in last year’s Supplemental Licensing program are offering pro-rated licenses as well. This varies, and it’s best to contact each vendor directly for details. Contact details for each vendor can be found in the product descriptions on the SOLS website.

I also send out updates to the following contact lists that we maintain: E-Resources, OverDrive Shared Collection Members, and the French Digital Content Group. If you wish to be added to a contact list please let me know, and as always I’m happy to answer any questions that you have: bharding@olservice.ca

Take care!