OverDrive announced Test Drive, a program for libraries to support demonstration and lending of eBook reading devices and tablets to patrons. The program includes device recommendations and guidelines for setup, maintenance and support, as well as best practices for institutions that want to stock and lend eBook readers and tablets to patrons.
The company also says that the Sony Reader Wi-Fi has been selected as the first "Test Drive Approved" device. Test Drive Approved device requirements include compatibility with the library's eBook catalog, direct Wi-Fi checkout, and eBook download via an onboard browser or app, and copyright protection (DRM) and lending practices that conform to rules as required by publisher permissions.
Over the coming weeks and months, OverDrive will announce additional "Test Drive Approved" eBook readers and tablets, including color units for use with illustrated eBook genres. It is also testing and preparing to release information for Test Drive Approved accessible devices for print-impaired readers. Accessible eBook reading devices in the Test Drive program for US public libraries will support the Library eBook Accessibility Program (LEAP), OverDrive's free service to libraries that offers accessible eBooks in partnership with Bookshare.org.
The Test Drive program was developed in response to recommendations by The Council of State Librarians (COSLA) from its 2010 report that outlined the need for low-cost, library-friendly eBook devices that library staff could use to train and lend to patrons. Accessibility and upholding publisher rights and library policies were among the requirements listed in that report.
Libraries in the OverDrive network may enroll in the Test Drive program for free at www.overdrive.com/testdrive.