Cuyahoga County Public Library

How One County Library in Ohio Achieved Digital Success with Flipster®

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At a Glance

Cuyahoga County Public Library
Cuyahoga County, Ohio

Institution Type:   Public Libraries
Related Products:   Flipster

Overview

Cuyahoga County Public Library in Ohio, which includes 27 branches, aims to help its 600,000 citizens be more connected, informed and entertained through free access to library resources, programs and services. In an effort to provide users with easy-to-access digital content, the library launched Flipster®, EBSCO's online magazine newsstand, in June of 2016. In 2018, the library experienced more than 51,500 online views and nearly 94,000 downloads of Flipster magazines county-wide. Titles such as People, Do It Yourself and New Old House were the most popular.

I think it’s important for librarians to know that Flipster is a stress-free product that attracts new e-customers to your library.

Melissa Barr
Collection Development Specialist
Cuyahoga County Public Library

Challenges

The popularity of digital resources such as e-books and digital magazines prompted Cuyahoga County Public Library to initially purchase RBDigital’s (formerly Zinio) digital magazine platform. However, after some time passed, librarians realized the platform was very difficult for their patrons to access.

“When Flipster arrived it was a blessing,” said Melissa Barr, Collection Development Specialist. “It’s so easy to use, and the login process is virtually transparent to the user. That is a huge advantage over Zinio.”

Cuyahoga also wanted a platform that offered the magazines the was currently subscribing to in print form. According to Wendy Bartlett, Collection Development and Acquisitions Manager, Flipster’s wide selection of magazines also supported the decision to implement EBSCO’s platform.

“A lot of the magazines we offer in print, we also offer digitally through Flipster,” said Bartlett. “This has worked well because a couple of magazines have now gone digital only, so we can still offer them through Flipster.”

The library currently subscribes to 189 titles including must-have magazines such as TIME, National Geographic and Us Weekly and popular special interest magazines such as Bicycling, Runner’s World and Yoga Journal. To meet the needs of hobbyists and DIYers, the library subscribes to titles such as Do It Yourself, The Family Handyman and Real Simple. To bridge the gap between book and magazine readers, the library also offers magazines such as Bookpage, a monthly publication that offers reviews of new books with recommendations for every type of reader. Check out a free sample.

Solutions

Once the switch to Flipster was complete, Cuyahoga placed a free carousel of featured magazines on their website. Users can click the cover image, log in, and go right to the digital magazine of their choice. In addition, the library included an announcement in its email newsletter and quarterly program guide.

According to Bartlett, the beauty of digital magazines is the fact that they attract digital users without the library having to spend a lot of time and effort on marketing the service. 

“We definitely have a big section of people who are digital users only, and they're extremely savvy,” Bartlett explained. “The minute we posted information about Flipster and the app, our users were on it like June bugs.”

Accessing Flipster is easy; all a library patron needs is a library card and an Internet connection. It’s also easy to browse and download magazines directly from the mobile app available for Apple® and Android™ devices.

Benefits & Results

Flipster has been well-received by patrons, not only those who prefer digital resources but also senior citizens looking for resources that are available in a larger font.

Flipster's been very popular with our older seniors who have iPads,” said Bartlett. “Flipster enables them to enjoy reading their favorite magazine such as The New Yorker and The Atlantic.”

In addition, libraries in Cuyahoga County have seen a consistent increase in usage each month since the launch. In 2018, the library experienced more than 51,500 online views and nearly 94,000 magazine downloads county-wide.

According to both Barr and Bartlett, Flipster is a worry-free product that allows staff members to focus on servicing patrons’ needs and not addressing technical difficulties with vendors.

“I think it’s important for librarians to know that Flipster is a stress-free product that attracts new e-customers to your library,” Barr said. “When colleagues ask us whether their library should go with Flipster, the answer is easy. Yes. Absolutely.”

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