MCLS Digital Libraries

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MCLS Digital Libraries is a shared, growing, collection of digital materials including downloadable ebooks and audio books, available at one site. Content is available to patrons of participating libraries through the OverDrive/DLR system.

The site is designed for remote use by library patrons so libraries do not need to purchase any additional equipment to provide this service. Patrons may download the digital materials via the web either in-library or remotely, so the process is virtually hands-free for library staff. Over the past year, an average of over 500 NEW patrons have accessed the site every month. Materials may be checked out for a limited period of time, downloaded to the patron's computer or digital media device, and automatically returned to the collection when the checkout time expires. Statistics, reports, training, and marketing materials from OverDrive are available for all participants.

Though new, regionally- or cooperative-based OverDrive groups are available, the original MCLS Digital Libraries group has been closed to new participants by OverDrive. Libraries interested in joining an open group or forming a new OverDrive group may contact Brian Potash at OverDrive at

Fall 2014 Meeting

Next meeting will be Wednesday, August 6, 2014 in MCLS' Lansing office. Session starts at 10:00 am. Lunch will be provided.

Participating Libraries

Our current MCLS Digital Libraries group is closed to new participants. OverDrive and MCLS are now working together to create new OverDrive groups based on cooperative regions. Please contact MCLS for further details.

MCLS Digital Libraries User Group meetings are held twice a year, usually in spring and fall. The next scheduled meeting is April 10, 2013, to be held at 10 AM at the MCLS offices in Lansing.

Participating library contacts are included in an email listserv where concerns, announcements, and general information are shared. All actions are decided by the group via consensus or majority vote.

Patrons with support questions should contact their home library directly.


eBooks (short for 'electronic book'), are digital versions of print books that have been optimized for on-screen reading, are available in a variety of different formats, and may be downloaded to a PC, supported PDA, or other reading devise.

Downloadable Audio Books are digital versions of audio books that are DRM-protected and optimized for download. They may be downloaded to a PC/laptop, burned to CD, or transferred to over 500 portable devices, including most MP3 players, smartphones, and car stereos. Click here for a list of compatible devices.

When a patron locates a digital book record in the library catalog, they click on the URL to go to the MCLS Digital Libraries site where the book may be checked out. Digital books are checked out for 21 days and are automatically returned to the collection when the checkout time expires. Adobe titles may be returned early, but downloadable audio titles cannot, because of publisher restrictions. The primary checkout model is one book/one user; however the collection does contain multiple copies of popular titles. Patrons may access a synopsis of the book without downloading. There is a hold list available, and patrons are automatically notified via email when the digital book is available for their use. The patron may read (or listen to) the book on their PC or download the information to another device for both the eBook and downloadable audio, or burn a downloadable audio book to a CD. Prior to checking out a MCLS Digital Libraries title, patrons must install free software on their PC or PDA. This will activate the DRM (Digital Rights Management) that protects the copyright of the digital book. The required software varies by digital book format (e.g. Adobe Reader, Mobipocket Reader, OverDrive Media Console).

Digital Rights Management

DRM is used for protecting copyrights and permissions for electronic resources. For more details, and lists of compatible devises, go to the OverDrive Device Resource Center.

Digital Library Reserve®

DLR is a web-based digital media platform developed by OverDrive that enables library patrons to download popular digital audio books, eBooks, and music remotely from a library web site. DLR delivers easy technology and a selection of titles that may be purchased through Content Reserve.

Community Reserve®

Community Reserve is a digital resource sharing service within the OverDrive Digital Library Reserve platform that enables participating libraries to manage and share download audio books, eBooks, and music in supported formats.

Content Reserve®

Content Reserve is a secure, web-based, wholesale distribution service for the sale and delivery of copyright-protected digital media, including eBooks, audio books, music, video, and games & interactive software. Content for the MCLS Digital Libraries collection is selected and purchased through this site. All participating libraries receive training and passwords to access the system. Reports and statistics are available through Content Reserve to all participants. Reports include collection information, title lists, circulation statistics, and many more!

Group Policies

Click on the links below for more information:

Promotional Material

OverDrive promotional services flyer

Sample Patron Education Links and Materials

The following documents and web links were kindly provided by MCLS Digital Libraries participants. Other libraries are welcome to adapt the materials for their own use.

Download Free eBooks to your eReader through the Library (Plymouth District Library)

Getting to Know Your Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iPad, or Sony E-Reader (Plymouth District Library)

Nook or Sony Reader instructions (Royal Oak Public Library)

Quick Start Guide for Downloading and Transferring OverDrive eBooks (Royal Oak Public Library)

eBook Quickstart Guide (Royal Oak Public Library)

Using eBooks from Overdrive with a Barnes & Noble Nook (Dearborn Public Library)

So you Got an Ereader Over the Holidays...Now What (Plymouth District Library Jan 2012)

New Instructions for Downloading ebooks from Penguin on Kindles (Plymouth District Library Feb 2012)

Downloading ebooks from OverDrive to a Kindle, Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard or Kindle DX (Plymouth District Library Jan 2012)

Downloading an OverDrive ebook to a Kindle Fire (Plymouth District Library Jan 2012)

Downloading From OverDrive to an e-ink Nook (Plymouth District Library Brochure - Oct. 2012)

You Tube Video on how to download to your iPad (Plymouth District Library 2012)

Downloading from OverDrive to a Nook Color or Nook Tablet (Plymouth District Library Brochure - Oct. 2012)

Downloading from OverDrive to an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch (Plymouth District Library Brochure - Oct. 2012)

Downloading from OverDrive to a Kindle Fire (Plymouth District Library Brochure - July 2012)

Downloading from OverDrive to your Kindle e-ink Devices (Plymouth District Library Brochure - Oct. 2012)


The first place to look for support is the HELP link that appears in the top green bar and at the bottom of the MCLS Digital Libraries home page:

Also, the Supported Portable Audio Devices link is quite helpful -

Common patron support questions:

If the above information doesn't answer your question, libraries (not patrons) should submit a help request via OverDrive Marketplace's Support tab.