Mississauga set to expand its electronic library collection

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The Mississauga Library has been forthcoming about how challenging it can be to obtain electronic material (and ebooks in particular), but it looks like an agreement with nearby cities will lead to a significant increase in the city's electronic collection. 

At an April 8 council meeting, city council passed a reciprocal lending agreement with the Hamilton and Burlington library systems that will allow for ebook and e-audiobook resource sharing between the three municipalities. 

According to a recent staff report, physical materials have always been shared through reciprocal lending agreements with other libraries. Interlibrary loans—which the Mississauga Library has been taking advantage of for 30 years—allow customers to request items not currently available in their own library systems. These loans, until recently, have not covered electronic materials—materials for which demand is on the rise. 

"The Library's eResource platform host, OverDrive Inc., has now introduced an option for libraries to link their collections resulting in an increase to the size of collections available for customers of all linked partner libraries," the report reads. 

"Customers from linked libraries are able to see the collections and borrow ebooks and e-audiobooks from all the linked libraries." 

The report says this new option extends the size and breadth of the collections, increases the variety and availability of materials and maximizes the use of collections. 

According to the report, the library system's collection currently includes 52,194 titles with 73,365 copies. The agreement with the Hamilton and Burlington library systems will mean that an additional 99,778 titles and 127,988 copies will be available to Mississauga Library customers. 

This means that a total of 151,972 electronic titles will be available—close to triple the amount the library system has now. 

The news will likely please readers, as the report says the library's ebook and e-audiobook usage has grown by approximately 240 per cent since 2015. The report says demand continues to trend upwards, with a 17 per cent increase in usage reported from 2018 to 2019. 

The report says that with the new agreement in place, Mississauga Library customers would be able to borrow 10 items at a time from the linked libraries and place five items on hold, in addition to being able to continue to borrow 10 items from the Mississauga Library's collections and place 20 items on hold.

According to the report, library customers will retain priority access to materials from their home library.

The report says that in order to maintain eligibility, each member library must agree to spend an annual amount equal to at least 95 per cent of their previous fiscal year's total content expenditure with OverDrive. Member libraries will also agree to share basic collection information such as customer activity and collection size with each other for the purpose of understanding usage and trends.

The report says the cost of participating in the shared collection is part of the Library's existing fee for the OverDrive platform.

Members may terminate their participation in the agreement for any reason with at least 30 days prior written notice, the report says. 

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