Farewell, Flipster

I am writing this to inform the staff that the digital magazine subscription service Flipster will be ending in Allegheny County libraries on December 31, 2022. Once an innovative forerunner in the digital magazine game, Flipster has begun to show its age, outshined by relative newcomers Overdrive and hoopla. Before we announce anything to patrons, we wanted to take the time to explain why we are sunsetting Flipster.

Considering budgetary restraints and service overlap, the Digital Resources Committee (DRC) conducted a thorough review of all three big names in digital magazines: Flipster, Overdrive, and hoopla. It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a shot in the arm for digital access. With the dust starting to settle on the pandemic (or at least settle into the dreaded “new normal”), a re-evaluation of digital services was necessary. While looking at each provider, we considered several factors: usage, cost, user experience, authority/company reputation, accessibility, content availability, vendor service and administration, and mobile functionality. Each committee member took the time to independently evaluate these services with these criteria, and lo and behold: a consensus formed prior to discussion.

On all fronts, Flipster was coming up short. The final scores were: Flipster, 161; hoopla, 226, and Overdrive, 244. We found Flipster lagging on a number of important factors: missing latest editions, buggy/hard-to-use interface, limited back-issue access, and little name recognition. In addition, since the start of 2020, Flipster’s circulation decreased, an obvious red flag during an explosion of digital access and use. For these reasons, Flipster is the weakest link and a redundancy with both Overdrive and hoopla available to patrons.

Some patrons may take issue with the passing of trusty old Flipster, and we should be prepared. We would recommend citing some of the reasons above, particularly accessibility and latest-/back-issue access. We have found two effective methods:

  1. Citing public libraries’ limited resources (pretty hard for folks to argue with this one)
  2. Redirecting patrons to our remaining services (hoopla and Overdrive)

Two other important things to note: we will be making a separate announcement for the public later this quarter, and if any library has a direct link to Flipster on their website, please add a notice after October 1 that the service will be discontinued after Dec 31, 2022.

If you have any issues, concerns, complaints, or pretty pictures to send to the DRC, you can direct them to the co-chairs of the DRC: Hilary Lewis at lewislacknerh@carnegielibrary.org or Richelle Klug at klugr@sewickleylibrary.org or if you have any questions about this specific article/email, email me at smithc2@coopersiegelcommunitylibrary.org.

Continue ReadingFarewell, Flipster

Libby on Kindle Fire – yes it’s possible! (with some disclaimers…)

There’s been a lot of concern about the sunsetting classic Overdrive app, and the fact that Libby is not yet available on some devices, particularly Kindle Fire.

However, Kindle Fire users can now sideload Libby onto their device manually with the APK (Android Package file). Once the APK is installed, the Libby app will appear and function like any other app on their tablet.

Be forewarned – this librarian has attempted the download with four different devices. On two it worked, on two it did not (very possibly because they were just too old to be compatible). And even when it does work, the process is definitely tricky. But it is an option for users who can’t get Libby through their appstore. Worth a try!

Head over to this link for Overdrive’s step-by-step explanation of how this back-door download works.

The Libby App for Kindle Fire Tablets | by OverDrive

– Heather Auman, Western Allegheny Community Library

Continue ReadingLibby on Kindle Fire – yes it’s possible! (with some disclaimers…)

Back to School – First Day Confidence

Starting school can be nerve wracking for any age, but it’s especially hard for the littles. Hoopla has put together a wonderful collection to help your kiddos start school with courage and poise. Below are some of my favorites to read in storytime! So grab your library card, a reading device and cuddle up on the couch for wonderful read-aloud books!

Back to school with Confidence

Gabi – Robinson Library

Continue ReadingBack to School – First Day Confidence

Back to Elementary School with hoopla

The beginning of the school year is a whirlwind for everyone. Students have growing reading goals, parents have busy schedules, and teachers are always planning their next lesson. In other words: there’s a lot of hoopla surrounding a brand new school year, especially for young readers.

So, how do you contend with the hoopla? Hoopla!

Yes, this is the hoopla we’ve been excited about.

Hoopla makes finding the digital resources you need easy for everyone!

With their timely and convenient Back to School Collection, finding eBooks for elementary students is a breeze. Hoopla’s curated selections of #BacktoSchool eBooks puts everything in one place — like this collection of Back to School Confidence eBooks, helpful for those students (…and parents…and teachers) who are looking to muster a little extra self-assurance to start the new school year strong.

Photo by SurveyHacks

Start exploring hoopla today and find exactly what you’re looking for! All you need to get started is your library card.

Derek, South Park Township Library

Continue ReadingBack to Elementary School with hoopla