On Dec. 20, 2010, Jamie LaRue, director of Douglas County Libraries (DCL), asked his associate director of Information technology, Monique Sendze, "Suppose a patron walked in and wanted to donate an ebook to our library. Could they?" Sendze responded, "No, I don't think so." "So, what do we have to do to be able to accept a book?" wondered LaRue. Sendze said she would find out.
It took 18 months and $100,000, but they found the answer together-locally hosting ebook content. LaRue, Sendze, and the DCL staff set out on a mission. A mission to own, not lease, electronic books. A mission to give libraries the buying power they deserve. A mission to secure discounts on electronic books. A mission to move the library upstream in the digital distribution process.
DCL is located 20 miles southwest of Denver. It has seven branches, more than 300 employees, and a $21 million budget. In 2011, it circulated 8.25 million items. While 20% of the patrons prefer ebooks, they represent only 2% of the library's holdings and circulation. Like many public libraries, DCL began to acquire ebooks with OverDrive, Inc. and now offers approximately 7,000 items in this collection. DCL is an early adopter of the 3M Cloud Library service as well, but it is not yet online. Through its trailblazing efforts, it now owns the ebook files and hosts another 7,000 titles on its Adobe Content Server (ACS). These 7,000 titles have been acquired directly from publisher contacts, with a discount.
(2012). Trailblazers: Moving the Library Upstream in the Digital Distribution Process. Online, 36 (4), 54-57.