In December, Ryan Claringbole and I wrote a post about his library’s (the Chesapeake Public Library’s) sub-standard selection catalog from OverDrive: “OverDrive Has Different eBook Catalogs for Different Libraries.” eBooks that I could see in my library’s OverDrive selection catalog to license were not available in his library’s selection catalog.
I decided to follow up and browse through his library’s OverDrive site and found that those very same authors titles that his library couldn’t even license back in December were in fact now in their catalog for the public to check out.
Naturally I was confused. Something had changed. So I contacted both the Chesapeake Public Library (the Library Director) and OverDrive (email was sent to several contacts). Strangely, the Library Director never responded. OverDrive responded (quickly this time) with the following:
At the library’s request, we recently met with an administrator at the Chesapeake Public Library to discuss the issues that led to the initial restriction on their catalog. We don’t as a policy discuss publicly each partner library’s terms of service, but suffice to say we were satisfied by the discussions and have since enabled full access to the catalog.
What do we take away from this story? What do you think happened here? Did the negative press and the library standing up for its users make a difference? Did OverDrive change the terms of their contract with the CPL? Did OverDrive change their policies so that they don’t limit libraries’ access to selection catalogs anymore? Did the publishers agree to new terms and change their contracts with OverDrive? Did OverDrive make an exception in this case? I don’t know. I have my guesses, but I’m more curious to hear what yours are.
So…what do you think happened?
P.S. A Public Service Announcement: For public libraries, all of our contracts are public record by nature of being public agencies. So it’s fine that OverDrive won’t “discuss” terms of service — but here’s a reminder to everyone…you, as the library, can discuss them. You can share your contracts with the world unless you signed a non-disclosure agreement, which you can’t even legally do.