Alaska Digital Library Policy and Guidelines Manual

ADL Policy and Guidelines Manual

(updated and approved by ALN Board May 6, 2022)


The intent of this manual is to document current policies and practices in order to provide transparency, stability, and efficiency to the processes needed to manage the Alaska Digital Library.




The Alaska Digital Library is a program coordinated by the Alaska Library Network. The policies needed to create a fair and successful program will be developed by the ALN Director based on input from members and will be approved by the ALN Board. – ALN BOARD 1/9/17

  • The ALN Executive Director will manage the day-to-day operations (including collection development) of the program and will make critical decisions as needed; however, Alaska library staff may be enlisted by the director to provide expert research and selection help. Note: ALN will play a limited role in troubleshooting common technical issues, please see the Usage/Support section.


  • Regular surveys will be developed to solicit feedback about the collection, usage, and satisfaction.





  • The ALN Board will receive regular updates about issues and needs of the Alaska Digital Library.


  • Time may be reserved at the AKLA conference to meet and talk about the Alaska Digital Library.


  • This document will be updated as necessary; the current version will be available on the ALN website.



Annual membership to the Alaska Digital Library will follow the policies outlined in the service agreement with the vendor, Overdrive, and will require an annually updated fee based on population.

  • The contract with Overdrive follows a fiscal year from October 1 through September 30. Full payment of fees should be made by September 15. Libraries may request a temporary waiver (to pay by October 31) for extraordinary reasons. Service may be shut down if payment (or waiver request) is not made by September 30. Non-service time will not be prorated upon subsequent payment of annual fees.


  • Annual fees are due in full (no partial payments) and are not refundable.


  • Annual fees may be paid by check or via ACH (electronic deposit). Credit card payments are not possible.


  • Partner libraries should notify ALN as soon as possible if they are planning not to continue with ADL.


  • Partner libraries should keep ALN informed of contact information changes.


  • At this time there are academic, special, and public libraries (including combined public/school and public/academic) as partner libraries. School-only libraries are not permitted by the vendor to join the ADL. Another program, the Alaska Digital School Library, has been developed for school libraries. Contact the Library Development unit at Alaska State Library.


  • All partner libraries must be current members of ALN.
  • Partner libraries agree to follow the policies outlined in the Overdrive Partner Agreement. (ADL partner library directors may request a copy of the current Partner Agreement from


  • Pricing will be based on a partner’s Legal Service Area (LSA) or Full-time Equivalent (FTE). LSA (public libraries) is determined using Alaska Dept. of Labor population estimates and enhanced/documented by the Alaska State Library (ASL); exceptions must be documented and approved by ASL. FTE (academic libraries) is determined by the official school student population.


  • ADL will use a tiered pricing model to allow for fair/affordable pricing for both small and large libraries.


  • Pricing for each fiscal year will be set at the January ALN Board meeting. If anticipated partner fees (commitments as of January 1) show a deficit, the ALN Board will approve a price increase. Partners will usually be notified by April 1 of the next fiscal year’s pricing. (ADL partner library directors may request a copy of the current pricing schedule from


  • Partners may request an “early invoice” in order to take advantage of any year-end monies.


  • Limited incentives or special pricing may be available to non-served Alaskan populations. It is our goal to make ADL affordable and accessible to all eligible libraries/patrons in Alaska.


  • For Public Library Assistance Grant (PLAG) reporting, libraries may designate 2/3 of their annual fee as monies spent on collections. The remaining 1/3 should be designated as electronic services.
  • The current contract allows ALN to make a flat group payment each fiscal year (October 1 – September 30). ADL partner library directors may request a copy of this contract from


  • ALN may keep an emergency reserve of funds up to 10% of yearly contractual fees.


  • The goal is to have the contracted service fee completely paid by partner libraries each year (through January price setting process); however, as a program of ALN, it is understood that ALN will cover unanticipated shortfalls in order to pay the negotiated yearly contract fee to keep the program solvent.



The Executive Director will work to maintain a positive and fair usage experience for patrons across the state, will assist libraries in making efficient and effective use of vendor-supplied training/troubleshooting, and will work to provide useful PR activities/resources.


  • Each partner library will only provide access to patrons within their approved/authorized service population (usually the Legal Service Area (LSA)).


  • Limitations on number of titles checked out, number of holds, length of hold pickup time, length of checkout, and any other necessary situations will be established in order to maintain a healthy and appealing service.
  • Authentication issues between an ILS and Overdrive must be resolved through direct contact between the library and Overdrive.


  • Libraries using the User Login Manager may ask ALN to be a backup administrator to assist during extraordinary circumstances. It is recommended that a library use a username AND PIN/Password to maintain the best security for their patrons.


  • Privacy of patron checkout records will be maintained.



  • Your library staff is the main point of contact for assisting patrons with issues and learning how to use the Overdrive platform. There are many resources you can use if you do not know an answer or need more information:



  • Staff may have an account on Overdrive Marketplace in order to submit a problem ticket directly to Overdrive. Staff must make the contact and mediate between patron and Overdrive tech.


  • Staff may use the ADL-Info mailing list to solicit ideas for “best practices”.



  • All libraries should have a current email contact available to assist patrons.


  • Suggestions for improvement may be researched and forwarded to Overdrive for possible development.


  • PR resources will be made available as funding and time permits.

Collection Development


The Executive Director will develop a plan to build the collection which meets the general/popular reading needs of patrons across the state using both internal and external funding and allows individual libraries to have an impact on the growth of the collection.


  • The regular annual budget for purchasing (called content credit) New titles and extra copies will be 2/3’s of the annual negotiated fee (i.e. $90,000 annual negotiated fee = $60,000 in content credit).


  • Additional monies may be solicited through donations or grants.


  • The goal is to spend 50% of the funds on New Titles and 50% on copies.


  • The goal is to purchase extra copies when a holds ratio of 10:1 is reached; however, budgetary limitations may cause an increase in the holds ratio.


  • Titles will be selected in the following formats: audiobooks (mp3, OverDrive Listen) and eBooks (Kindle, EPUB, PDF, and Overdrive Read). EBook titles available in Kindle or EPUB (both are desirable) will be given preference.


  • Titles available in only PDF or Overdrive Read should be avoided if possible.


  • One Copy/One User (OC/OU) titles are preferable to metered access titles.


  • Titles (both fiction and non-fiction) will be selected for three audiences: General Adult, Young Adult, and Juvenile in both fiction and non-fiction.


  • The ALN Director will allot funds each year for audience, subject/genre, and format in a logical and fair way based on budget, historical purchases, anticipated special purchases, trends, and demand.


  • New titles and extra copies will be purchased on a frequent and regular basis in order to keep the collection fresh and responsive to the patrons.


  • Libraries may have special accounts set up to purchase titles for the shared collection using their own funds.
  • Libraries may choose to become Advantage libraries to purchase titles for just their patrons’ use. Advantage libraries are encouraged to use the Advantage Plus “sharing” option which allows titles which are not being used by their patrons to be “shared” with all ADL patrons (Advantage patrons always have priority on these titles).


  • Libraries using their own funds will purchase titles based on their collection development policies.


  • Recommendations (suggestions) by staff and patrons will be made using the Recommend-To-Library (RTL) feature. Each patron and staff member is allotted 5 recommendations per month from their individual account. Library directors may request special “recommendation only” accounts for their staff (so that the staff does not need to use their personal account for library recommendations).


  • The priorities/criteria for selecting New Titles will be:


1. Quality review resources/lists (like the NYT Bestsellers)


2. Suggestions generated from patrons/staff (usually based on number of recommendations)


3. Expert research/surveys/reports (critical subjects/genres reflecting interests of Alaska’s patrons)


4. Special deals or sales to stretch the ADL budget


NOTE: Variety and balance between subjects/genres and subjects/genres which appeal to the general patron should always be an overriding factor.


  • Titles may be purchased for special events (community reads, Battle of the Books, etc.). The ALN Director may assist libraries in acquiring temporary, unlimited use licenses for specific titles. Organizations/libraries sponsoring the event may be asked to cost-share if there is limited statewide appeal.


  • The Executive Director of ALN will make the final decision on titles/copies to be purchased using regular annual budget funds; however, Alaska library staff may be enlisted by the director to provide expert research and selection help.


  • MARC records from OverDrive are automatically updated for libraries in the Alaska Library Catalog (ALC).
  • For non-ALC libraries, OverDrive MARC Express offers ready-to-load, minimal MARC records to your library at no cost. OverDrive creates these records and delivers them to Marketplace (under Admin > MARC Express deliveries) the day after you place a content order.
  • Non-ALC libraries can use MARC Express records as they are or edit them to suit their needs. MARC Express is a way of getting records into your catalog and keeping it up-to-date with your OverDrive digital collection.


  • Expiring metered access titles may be repurchased if a significant number of holds are present. However, when expired, most metered access titles will have holds purged and be weeded as soon as possible so that patrons will not believe they are still available.


  • Occasionally, metered access titles will change publishers, be updated, or change scope (i.e. original included multi-volumes). The new editions (with new ISBN) may be slightly different (or include single volumes) from the original. When possible holds from the original will be moved to the new edition or to a very similar title.


  • As a shared collection the reconsideration process needs to work through a couple layers. First, any reconsideration must follow the complete reconsideration policy at the patron’s home library. Documentation from that process (if removal is requested) will then be sent to the Executive Director ( The Executive Director will send the documentation out to ADL directors for comment (two weeks). Finally, documentation and ADL directors’ comments will be forwarded to the ALN Board for discussion and vote at their next scheduled quarterly meeting. The ALN Board’s decision is final.