BiblioCommons 2015 Year In Review

2015 was another exciting year for the team at BiblioCommons! This year saw many new libraries come on board as well as a notable increase in the number of libraries adopting our BiblioCMS content management system to take advantage of the integrated website, catalog, and events platform.

This year we were very excited to welcome many new libraries to the BiblioCommons family, for BiblioCore, BiblioCMS, or both! Tacoma Public Library signed on for both Core and CMS. King County Library SystemSan Mateo County Library, and Edmonton Public Library all added CMS to their existing Core catalogs with Edmonton Public Library already live and KCLS and SMCL coming soon. Charlotte Mecklenburg LibrarySan Diego Public Library, and Columbus Metropolitan Library signed up for the BiblioCore catalog. Additionally Santa Clara County Library District and Okanagan Regional Library re-subscribed after trying out a new ILS without BiblioCore, and we’re so pleased to have them return to using BiblioCommons and to learn how much their patrons missed the BiblioCore features and functionality.

The BiblioCMS team spent 2015 adding new features to enhance the platform, including creating tighter integration with BiblioCore, improving search engine discoverability and social media sharing, and making card use and re-use even easier for library staff.

Tighter integration with BiblioCore

Blog posts in CMS that use the Add a Title widget to highlight a catalog item now automatically have their title and a short excerpt pulled into the Featured Blogs & Events section of the title’s record in BiblioCore. All BiblioCMS homepages now include browse buttons to easily access the pages highlighting staff picks, new titles and more.

Search engine optimization and social media

BiblioCMS Lib Admins can now access and specify the SEO descriptions for pages across the site, providing more control over search engine results. A new Twitter Feed Embed widget was introduced to easily embed a Twitter feed based off a username or hashtag into blog posts, news posts, and pages. We also built a beautiful new sharing tool, to easily share any CMS content on users’ favorite social media sites.

Easier card use and re-use

Staff can now set the length of time that a CMS content card will be displayed by choosing an expiry date when it will disappear from the live site and be archived. Cards can also be marked as favourites (only visible in the back end) so that they can easily be identified for later re-use.

The BiblioCore team also introduced lots of exciting new features and improvements, including social features, responsive page design, and early returns for OverDrive Read eBooks.

Social features

All patrons registered in BiblioCore now have a user profile page! This is a page patrons can populate with information about themselves and their interests, and where their lists, badges, and personalized star rating system are displayed. We’ve also added list liking as a feature, to highlight lists that users find helpful or particularly enjoy.

Responsive design

In 2015, BiblioCore rolled out new responsive page designs. A preview version was offered over the summer, from June to August, to allow users to try out the new site and offer feedback. Lists became responsive in July, borrowing pages (including Holds and Checkouts) were responsive as of late September, and search pages followed in December. Responsive web design means that a page’s elements will adapt to the size of the screen it is being viewed with to provide an optimal user experience on any device. This is especially important as an increasing number of library users are visiting from mobile devices like tablets.

BiblioDigital, the BiblioCommons eBook platform, also had an exciting year. Edmonton Public Library used the One Book, One Community reading platform to hold their first One Book, One Edmonton event, where the city read Emma Hooper’s Etta & Otto & Russell & James together. BiblioCommons also forged an agreement with Penguin Random House to add over 38,000 titles to the eBooks available through BiblioDigital’s acquisitions platform.

In 2015, BiblioCommons also worked with the Society of Chief Librarians, the association of head librarians from library authorities in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, to produce a report on a unified digital presence for public libraries in England. Titled “Essential Digital Infrastructure for Public Libraries in England: A Plan moving forward,” the report was based on extensive research and engagement with library users and stakeholders, as well as with non-users of the library, and provided an in-depth look at the digital library landscape in the UK.

Thank you for being part of the BiblioCommons family. The team is happy to have worked with you in 2015, and looks forward to continued partnership in the next year. Happy 2016 from all of us here at BiblioCommons!