Discoverability and usability of new services at my local library

After reading this week’s readings on accessibility, users and usability of library collections, the evolving role of the library collection, open access repositories for scholarly activity, and the twitter archive, I found myself reflecting back on “Creating a Culture of Use: An ATG Hot Topic” by Katrina Spencer the most. While the themes approached in the other readings were thought-provoking (especially those concerning creating making more physical space for folks to occupy within the library, space that was traditionally reserved for collections of books), the reality of patrons not knowing what services their libraries provide is one that I see in my day-to-day. In 2018, my local library started using hoopla digital. This is a third-party pay-per-use service with a “collection of more than 750,000 eBooks, audiobooks, comics, albums, movies and television shows” (“hoopla digital Inks”, 2019) that libraries use to supplement their existing catalogue. This transactional, always available model may be changing as hoopla digital brokers deal with publishers who require different modalities. My local library allows five checkouts per month. Since its inception, I’ve spoken to many of my reader friends, and none seem to know about this service. In this entry I would like to look at what measures the library has taken to inform its public on the acquisition of hoopla digital. I also would like to see if there are any guides to navigating hoopla. I’ve noticed, through social media, that the categorization system of hoopla can sometimes be a limiting factor to readers finding books/audiobook/comics that interest them. I will also attempt to see if the library has been able to allocate more resources towards the acquisitions of books through the OverDrive/Libby interfaces when not offered by hoopla. First off, I will state that I didn’t see any physical advertisement on the hoopla digital services until a couple months into the service when brochures were placed near the checkouts. Now, let’s look on the recently revamped website.

eLibrary Menu
eLibrary Menu

Immediately, I noticed that there is a new, dedicated eLibrary pull down. Let’s see if we can find hoopla digital and maybe a guide to using it.

eAudiobooks offering for audiobooks

Immediately, I notice this useful list of resources that includes audiobooks with a brief summary of the service. Let’s see if the hoopla link will include a guide to accessing and using hoopla.

Instructional guide for hoopla digital

As you can see, there is a basic guide to hoopla included. While this is a good start, it could explain why less of my colleagues and friends know about the service. You see, the way hoopla filters for information is not dissimilar to Netflix’s system. Hoopla likes to sort information into categories that it creates, and then recommends based on the users’ taste. When it comes to browsing their offerings without a specific title in mind, it can be fairly frustrating as the same titles tend to appear over and over again.

hoopla's category system
hoopla’s category system

As a user, I’ve found that the easiest way to browse is by adding the “Just Added to hoopla” category, selecting “new” and skimming through the offerings. Doing this allows the user to browse through the hoopla catalogue without being constrained by the categories. I believe it would be helpful to users to have a more in depth guide to using hoopla. Even if it were to just explain that what you see will vary intensely if you select “popular” or “new” on any given category. Prior to writing this entry, the app interface showed users a limited amount of titles compared to the desktop version. This was a happy discovery, but one that would be nice to have known about through a library guide. Of course, it is difficult for anyone to account for all of the rapid shifts in a given technology, but guides could save users’ time. Moreover, they could help walk users through the recommendation set-up process so that the algorithm that hoopla uses could be more accurate. If you leave it blank, and mostly use hoopla for reading comics, you may end up with the following:

Comics recommendations on hoopla
Comic recommendations on hoopla

Can you tell that I’ve read a lot of Giant Days and Fence on hoopla? Strangely, I’ve read no Batman, but maybe that recommendation comes from my love and reading of Motor Crush on hoopla. That said, as a user, I’m curious to know how I can switch my additional recommendations to cover more than comics and also to cover a higher diversity of comics instead of issues/volumes of comics that I already love. Now, let’s take a look at the overall audiobook/ebook collection (including Overdrive and hoopla digital) for my local library. As it is Latinx Heritage Month and the start of the Latinx Readathon, I will be querying for latinx titles that I will be pulling from Priscilla of BookieCharm’s latinx readathon recommendation lists. Historically, it has been difficult to find all of the books that get recommended to me on audio at my local library and I’ve had to supplement what the library offers through the use of Scribd, Audible, and Libro. This year I’ve done most of my reading in audio format so I will be aiming to find these in audiobook format, but ebooks will be my back up.

Priscilla of BookieCharm’s Latinx Book Recommendations

Having queried both hoopla and OverDrive for Priscilla’s recommendations, I noticed that there was very little overlap on the titles offered. Generally, titles that were offered on hoopla were not available on OverDrive. This matches well with the idea of hoopla as furthering the library’s pre-existing catalogue in OverDrive. While Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal was offered on both hoopla and OverDrive, the format offered was different. From what I have gathered from my own searches, hoopla appears to have more audiobooks than ebooks for 2019 releases. The only title that appears in both ebook and audiobook format across OverDrive and hoopla is With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevado. As a huge fan of Poet X and With the Fire on High, I can say with much bias that many copies of these titles should be carried. You don’t just win the Carnegie Medal and the National Book Award without warranting many acquisitions! Having queried both hoopla and OverDrive for Priscilla’s recommendations, I noticed that there was very little overlap on the titles offered. Generally, titles that were offered on hoopla were not available on OverDrive. This matches well with the idea of hoopla as furthering the library’s pre-existing catalogue in OverDrive. While Alma and How She Got Her Name by was offered on both hoopla and OverDrive, the format offered was different. From what I have gathered from my own searches, hoopla appears to have more audiobooks than ebooks for 2019 releases. The only title that appears in both ebook and audiobook format across OverDrive and hoopla is With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. As a huge fan of Poet X and With the Fire on High, I can say with much bias that many copies of these titles should be carried. You don’t just win the Carnegie Medal and the National Book Award without warranting many acquisitions!

Results of looking at hoopla and OverDrive (hoopla is in the upper left and text while OverDrive is in the bottom and the middle)

References

Albanese, A. (2019). Hoopla Expanding to Offer Multiple Models. Publishers Weekly (Online), 17. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=asn&AN=137090143&site=eds-live&scope=site

Audiobook Categories. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.hoopladigital.com/browse/audiobook/categories?page=1

Charm, B. (2019, August 25). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oS3rSAM9_M

Comic Recommendations. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.hoopladigital.com/browse/comic/recommended?page=1

eAudiobooks. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bozemanlibrary.org/elibrary/by- format/eaudiobooks

hoopla digital Inks eBook Deal with Kensington Publishing. (2019, July 15). PR Newswire. Retrieved from https://link-gale-com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/apps/doc/A593382414/BIC?u=uiuc_uc&sid=BIC&xid=a6901942

Hoopla. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bozemanlibrary.org/elibrary/by-format/eaudiobooks/hoopla

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