Some may believe that libraries are a thing of the past, but the Toronto Public Library is trying to prove otherwise by overhauling its current offering to a more modern website with the help of service called OverDrive.
On Monday, TPL will launch a redesign of the OverDrive ebook platform. The Toronto Public Library has offered the OverDrive service since 2007.
The site will be unveiled on Monday February 13th. The TPL says the new site will be faster than ever and will come with quite a few new features including:
• The ability to autocomplete searches (that thing that seems to drive people wild when google does it).
• You can sort by subject and view various collections making it easier to find new material you may never have seen before.
• Banners to show whether books are available or if there’s a waiting list.
• Much simpler borrowing process.
• Now possible to renew books that you are currently borrowing if you’re within three days of your return date, and there are copies still available.
• Filtering based on audience, so if you’re looking for a children’s book you won’t accidentally come across more mature content such as 50 shades of grey, and vice versa.
• To complement the filtering, you can also disable books which are meant for a younger/older audience from showing through your account settings whenever you are searching.
• Already set to have over 128 thousand different eBooks, Audiobooks, and videos.
After checking the library’s current website out for myself I can see this update being welcome with open arms as the current on seems rather bland, basic, and lacking in features. Toronto Public Library has said that switching over to the new website should be smooth and simple and will not affect current checkouts, holds, and wish lists.
OverDrive is a free service that is available for schools, businesses, corporations, and public/private libraries. It is is already used by more than 30,000 libraries in more than 40 countries. It allows you to borrow eBooks, audiobooks, videos, and offers many other features that the Toronto Public Libraries previous old and outdated website just couldn’t. Signing on to the Toronto Public Libraries OverDrive will still require a library card though, so some clunky remnants of the old will remain.
So how does the new Toronto Public Library stack up, pun intended? When compared to other libraries such as the behemoth New York Public Library, it all still seems to be very lackluster but certainly a step in the right direction. New York Public Library’s website features things such as a digitalized collection of art, maps, manuscripts, videos, and much more, it even includes papers which were writing by historical figures such as Thomas Jefferson. It also offers access to the digital collection API, As well as an OverDrive website, which features over 143,000 books, eBooks, audiobooks, and videos.
The TPL announcement was posted on Reddit and has already begun to receive feedback from various Reddit users, some of whom are voicing their approval for the update.
“It’s a definite improvement, nice clean interface,” said one Redditor.