BiblioCommons Inc. has begun work with the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) to envision a unified digital platform for all public libraries in England. The goal of the project is to enhance public library services and increase the use of these services by library patrons.
Through extensive interviews and analysis, the project will research the challenges and opportunities facing public libraries in England. At the same time, this project will also create a digital platform that will help advance the mission of public libraries and enhance the well-being of the communities that depend on them.
The platform will be designed to improve how patrons can discover, access, and engage with the resources that public libraries provide, including books, media, digital articles, journals, library programs, events, and much more. The platform will be designed to bring people into public libraries – both virtually and physically. In drawing public library information and resources under one platform, the SCL seeks to expand patrons’ access to the nationwide programs on offer for public libraries in England. These Universal Offers connect people with valuable skills and information in five key areas the SCL has identified: Health, Reading, Digital, Learning, and Information.
BiblioCommons was honored to have been chosen, through a public tender process, to help SCL with this project. The initial phase of this project, funded by a £30,00 grant from Arts Council England, will research patron and library sector needs and create a vision and roadmap for the unified digital platform. Work on this stage is expected to be complete by the end of March 2015.
“Libraries are powerful and free sources of information and knowledge,” said Ciara Eastell, SCL President. “They can and do change people’s lives, and this project is the next step on an important journey for public libraries in making all that information available at the click of a mouse. We hope this first stage helps secure the investment needed to deliver the project fully.”
This project comes at a crucial time for public libraries in England as they work to keep up with the digital demands of today’s citizen and consumer and to address the challenges highlighted in the recent Independent Report on Public Libraries, chaired by William Sieghart.
“We are thrilled to be working with SCL and its stakeholders to advance the vision of a unified digital platform,” said Beth Jefferson, co-founder and CEO of BiblioCommons. “Libraries around the world have long supported their communities through branch locations that contain clear information, helpful resources, and edifying cultural works, programs, and events. This strengthens individuals, and builds communities. We look forward to working with stakeholders, libraries, customers, and even non-customers to chart a course that shows how this digital presence can be realized.”
Read the SCL press release: http://www.goscl.com/scl-working-to-create-unified-digital-platform-for-all-libraries/.
BiblioCommons first started as a non-profit youth literacy initiative and now provides online solutions to public libraries worldwide. The BiblioCore catalog service replaces all search and account management functionality of the traditional web catalog, works on top of existing Integrated Library Systems (ILSs), integrates seamlessly with the library’s branding and website navigation, and delivers a robust social discovery experience. In addition to a full suite of complementary services, BiblioCommons recently released BiblioCMS, a complete solution for content and website management. Details on all services are at: bibliocommons.com/products
About the Society of Chief Librarians
The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) is a local government association made up of the chief librarian of each library authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. SCL takes a leading role in the development of public libraries, through sharing best practices, advocating for continuous improvement on behalf of local people, and leading the debate on the future of the public library service. www.goscl.com
About Arts Council England
Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2010 and 2015, we will invest £1.9 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1.1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. Learn more at http://www.artscouncil.org.uk.