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Casey Grammar School finds greater reading choice, ease of use with Ebooks NOW

Located in the Melbourne suburb of Cranbourne East, Casey Grammar School is an independent P-12 school, with three streams in Prep to year 3, two streams in year 4 to 6 and four streams in the Senior School. Rebecca Birch serves as its Library Technician and Scholastic Book Club Coordinator, working to engage students with books and foster a life-long love of reading.

Casey Grammar had a digital library service, but Birch reports it wasn’t easy for students to use and didn’t offer the titles they needed.

“Our ebook and audiobook platform was not suitable for our students. It was difficult for them to navigate and was restricted with books,” she said.

To better meet its students’ reading needs, Casey Grammar made the switch to Ebooks NOW from OverDrive Education (https://company.overdrive.com/ebooks-now/au/). For a low annual fee of AUD $1,500, students and educators can access the handpicked Ebooks NOW collection of over 1,700 premium digital books shared among participating schools – including over 200 classic titles to meet classroom set needs. The collection is chosen, monitored and updated regularly by educational content experts, with selections based on popular reads among schools and focused on Australian titles and curriculum support.

“The wider variety of books was the biggest drawer card,” Birch said of Casey Grammar’s move to Ebooks NOW.

In addition to the Ebooks NOW shared collection, Casey Grammar also maintains an OverDrive Advantage account, which enables the school to purchase and curate its own independent collection of digital books based on its students’ unique reading and learning needs.

Both sets of titles are accessed anytime, anywhere with the Sora student reading app. Available on the popular devices students use every day, Sora offers safe, secure authentication and a simple one-tap step to borrow and start reading. Powerful features help keep students engaged, including personalization options like high-contrast mode and adjustable fonts and text sizes, annotations and highlights, in-app definitions and Google Translate access.

“The students have embraced it, and it’s very easy to manage,” Birch said of Ebooks NOW and Sora.

“The statistics speak for themselves”

Ebooks NOW was an immediate success at Casey Grammar. It was launched in December 2019, and that first month saw more checkouts then the entirety of 2019 on the school’s previous ebook platform.

Those impressive circulation figures continued.

“The statistics speak for themselves. The first four months of having (Ebooks NOW), we had an increased usage of 320 percent,” Birch said.

Ebooks NOW also played a crucial role in supporting students during the shift to remote learning throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The wide variety of titles and easy access through Sora helped keep homebound students reading.

“It was a life saver over the six months of remote learning. Students were able to access books and continue reading while unable to leave home.

“I would encourage (subscribing to Ebooks NOW), it has been a great addition to our library,” Birch said.

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