Making the Most of Digital Collections through Training and Outreach
The Innovative Librarian's Guide
by Nicholas Tanzi
November 2015, 140pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-4072-2
$50, £38, 42€, A72
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-4073-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

For many patrons, digital resources are not easy to use. Consider this: a recent study of a metropolitan public library showed that requests to access eBooks comprised nearly all of their helpdesk traffic. Use this book to train your staff on how to support patrons with using their devices to access library collections and services.

This book offers a practical template for training patrons to use eBook, streaming video, online music, and journal collections that is practical, adaptable, and most importantly, sustainable.

In order to make your library’s expanding digital collection worth having, customers need to know how to access these online resources—and it’s up to your staff to show them how. This unique guide explains how to use a device-centered approach to training library patrons (rather than a system-centric approach) that will enable staff to more easily assist patrons, regardless of whether your patrons use Kindles, tablets, mobile phones, or laptops. Using this approach, staff stay current and can prepare for the next technology or interface platform to access digital collections.

The book describes different patron instruction scenarios, such as drop-in, one-on-one interactions, tech petting zoos, and classroom settings, and explains how to structure and conduct specific sessions/classes. Readers will learn methods of promoting the digital collection that can be used in their entirety or a la carte, depending on your budget and locality. The final chapters address using social media, print media, and interactive displays; best practices for target marketing aimed at both in-house patrons and external customers; and how you can save money when purchasing equipment.


  • Introduces librarians to a sustainable approach to teaching or coaching patrons on how to access and use eBooks, streaming video, digital music, and digital journal collections
  • Offers a flexible approach that can be customized to libraries of different sizes and budgets
  • Builds on librarians' reference skills to stay current with new technologies
  • Focuses on sustainability for smaller and mid-sized libraries
Nicholas Tanzi, MLS, is the assistant director of the South Huntington Public Library. He is the vice-president/president elect of the Computer and Technical Services Division of Suffolk County Library Association (SCLA), a regional chapter of the New York Library Association. Tanzi obtained his master's degree in library science from CUNY Queens College.


"Libraries that are not yet offering digital services would be well served by Tanzi’s book. Those wishing to enhance patron experiences with digital resources are guaranteed to find inspiration."—Library Journal, Starred Review, May 1, 2016

"Tanzi has written a very practical approach to increasing the visibility and use of digital collections. . . . Any library that is expanding their digital collection or that feels their digital collection is not getting enough use could benefit from the suggestions in this book. Although many of the suggestions do not translate exactly to academic or school libraries, these librarians could benefit from Tanzi’s ideas about how to market their digital collection. Even libraries that feel their digital collection is being well used could find ideas to further improve service by browsing this book."—VOYA, February 1, 2016
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