News from Exhibitors and More | ALA Annual 2024

The American Library Association’s 2024 annual conference and exposition included many announcements from library vendors. Here’s a roundup of some of the news from this year’s show floor.

San Diego Convention Center exterior viewed from across East Harbor DriveOverDrive announced the launch of “Check Out Your Library,” a multiyear initiative that aims to “introduce and reacquaint millions of Americans with the invaluable resources and stories housed within their public libraries.” In addition to providing free marketing materials to enable libraries to promote their resources and tie in with local events, Check Out Your Library will also feature dozens of marketing and experiential events at major library systems across the country, including a nationwide “Fiction and Film” tour with OverDrive’s Library Vehicle (previously known as the Digital Bookmobile). The tour will kick off on July 20 in Las Vegas at the AREA15 immersive entertainment with an event in partnership with Meow Wolf and the Las Vegas–Clark County Library District. Julia Whelan, award-winning audiobook narrator and author of My Oxford Year and Thank You for Listening, will do a Q&A and book signing on site during the event. On August 15, a second marquee event will take place in Charlotte, NC, at Truist Field in partnership with the Charlotte Knights baseball team, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, and the Charlotte Mecklenburg School District.

OverDrive also announced three new All Access Collections of simultaneous use ebook subscriptions—Romance, Mystery, and Kids’ Essentials. Priced with a fixed annual fee, the genre-specific collections offer patrons access to thousands of in-demand titles without any holds. Each collection will be refreshed regularly with new titles. “All Access collections enable librarians to further optimize the performance of their digital library budget and support simultaneous access to titles for book clubs, community reading programs, and general patron use,” Steve Potash, founder and CEO of OverDrive, said in an announcement. “Each collection provides something for all. In the Romance collection readers will delight in titles from contemporary to paranormal to Western while in the Mystery collection titles span from cozy to police procedural to suspense thrillers.” Separately, in June OverDrive announced that more than one million titles are now available via its OverDrive Max access model, which allows libraries and schools to purchase bundles of ebook checkouts for individual titles with no expiration date.

EBSCO Information Services introduced an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Beta Program to partner with its customers and receive user input on the company’s AI efforts. The first beta test concluded in May 2024, and the second test is scheduled to begin this month. Testers are exploring two features—AI Insights, which generate short lists of insights from full-text articles using a Retrieval Augmented Generation method, and Natural Language Search, which leverages EBSCO’s relevance ranking with subject query expansion via the Unified Subject Index of authoritative metadata with the addition of AI query expansion for common words. In 2025, EBSCO will release two additional beta programs, AI Reference Assistance and Literature Review. EBSCO also announced its ninth annual Solar Grant Winners, which provide $300,000 in grants to five libraries planning to install solar arrays. The 2024 recipients are Biblioteca Daniel Cosío Villegas, Mexico City, MX; Carnegie Public Library, Eureka Springs, AR; Royal Oak Public Library, Royal Oak, MI; University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine Library, San Antonio, TX; and Williamsville Public Library and Museum, Williamsville, IL.

collectionHQ, a global provider of evidence-based collection management solutions, announced its launch into the academic library market with “cHQacademic.” The new product “will harness the same technology that has been tried and tested by [public] librarians to help academic library professionals make informed, efficient decisions about their collections and enhance the student experience.” An early adopter program with Siena College in New York, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Florida SouthWestern State College, and Martin Luther College in Minnesota has been a success, according to the company. “cHQacademic has been an invaluable tool for our library,” Dr. Susan Mythen, dean of library and tutoring services at Florida State College, said in an announcement. “It excels at performing deep dives into collection data for major projects and long-term planning while also providing quick, detailed information on demand. The intuitive visual platform makes it accessible for everyone.”

Gale, part of Cengage Group, announced major enhancements to Gale Literature Resource Center (LRC). The enhancements include:

  • Primary Source & Historical Documents Curated Sets: Materials that are selected to be approachable for students who may be unfamiliar with using primary sources within literature disciplines. Collections provide instructors with ready-made materials for discussion or for use as a reference point for students to use in expanding their research questions.
  • Native PDF Access: A new tab on the document page now offers easy access to native PDF documents.
  • Work and Topic Portals: Hubs of content around topics or specific works of literature help simplify common workflows and help introduce newer researchers to the diverse content available in LRC.
  • Gale College Collection Integration: Provides students access to novels, poems, and more via Gale College Collection. “Access to works being studied supports equity initiatives and simplifies access for students who are searching for specific parts of the text for review or quoting.”

Seventy of the new curated sets were available at press time, with 100 sets expected to be available by August 1. “Primary source databases contain millions of historical documents, which can be overwhelming and time-consuming for novice researchers and instructors developing coursework,” Seth Cayley, VP of global academic product at Gale, said in an announcement. “LRC provides an approachable starting point with focused sets of primary sources that are easier to analyze and consume. This helps users understand the materials better, making connections and comparisons that open up new research possibilities and unique ways to interrogate literary works.”

As part of an expanded partnership with TN marketing, hoopla Digital announced the availability of Get Healthy U TV BingePass, which joins two other recently launched BingePasses—Craftsy’s Hands on Crafts for Kids and In the Kitchen with Craftsy. Like hoopla’s many other BingePasses, these allow patrons of participating libraries to use a single borrow to receive unlimited access to this content for a week. “The new BingePasses...come at a time when educational TV series within the hoopla catalog have seen an 18 percent year-over-year increase in borrows,” the company noted in an announcement.

OCLC announced that the Big Ten Academic Alliance libraries are now live using OCLC Resource Sharing for Groups, a consortial borrowing solution that expedites delivery of digital and print items to library users. The provider-neutral solution integrates with any standards-based discovery service and library management system, and “WorldShare Interlibrary Loan, Tipasa, and ILLiad form a familiar foundation, so libraries currently using these services don’t need lengthy implementations or additional training.” If a resource request can’t be fulfilled within a group the solution scales out to regional partners and OCLC’s global resource sharing network without any staff intervention. Separately, OCLC announced that 31 new libraries have signed on to OCLC’s WorldShare Management Services platform during the past six months, including historically Black college and university libraries, government, theological, technical, and other university libraries.

Independent Publishers Group (IPG) announced a strategic partnership with Bookwire, a leading global provider of digital distribution for ebooks and audiobooks. IPG will adopt the Bookwire cloud-based OS platform for ebook distribution and digital marketing, and Bookwire will gain access to IPG’s digital print and distribution services, expanding its market presence in the United States. “IPG’s digital clients will transition to the Bookwire OS platform within the next year, gaining access to increased channel opportunities, automated marketing, integrated analytics, and other benefits,” IPG CEO Joe Matthews said in an announcement. “This partnership allows us to focus on our core business while enhancing our digital service offerings. Our clients will greatly benefit from the advanced capabilities and global distribution network of the Bookwire OS platform.”

Sage announced the release of “Sage Research Methods: Diversifying and Decolonizing Research.” The new collection of digital resources has been curated to showcase diversity and decolonization principles in research, and includes a collection of videos exploring global social justice perspectives and movements, as well as multimedia covering themes such as Indigenous research methods, disability studies, race and ethnicity studies, gender, and sexuality. “These new resources represent our commitment to creating content that promotes anti-racism, social justice, and equity and that is backed by sound social and behavioral science,” Kiren Shoman, executive VP, editorial and global executive lead, DEI, said in an announcement. “As an independent company, we pride ourselves on [creating] lasting partnerships with scholars and practitioners representing diverse communities and, together, facilitate opportunities for reflexivity, accountability, and improvement across the academic community.”

The Library Corporation (TLC) announced a milestone in its ITS•MARC initiative. The 84+ million records available on ITS•MARC includes over 7.6 million records now contributed directly from TLC library customers. The latest customer to start contributing—over half a million records—is the Hawaii Department of Education. In an announcement, TLC added that “the addition of new school contributors has played a pivotal role in broadening access to specialized title records catering to niche subject areas. This expanded scope empowers libraries to better serve the unique needs of their patrons, fostering an enriched experience for researchers, students, and knowledge seekers alike.”

The Equinox Open Library Initiative announced Q2 open-source project contributions to the open-source Evergreen integrated library system (ILS). Working with the King County Library System (KCLS), WA, Equinox continued to enhance accessibility features in the Evergreen staff catalog, with the latest improvements focused on the circulation interfaces. Equinox also worked with KCLS and vendor Midwest Tape to add a new form of acquisitions messaging using the X12 standard, enabling libraries to streamline materials and facilitate ordering from a wider variety of vendors. And with the Evergreen Community Development Initiative (ECDI), Equinox updated the Record Buckets feature, now enabling staff users to mark buckets as favorites and take advantage of updates to the shared-bucket function. The latest updates also bring multifactor authentication (MFA) to the staff client, with support for several types of MFA factors, featuring a variety of options for the local Evergreen administrator to configure.

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Matt Enis


Matt Enis ( is Senior Editor, Technology for Library Journal.

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