BiblioCommons 2017 Year in Review

2017 was a lively year of change and growth at BiblioCommons! We’ve welcomed many new libraries for both BiblioCore and BiblioWeb, and have more libraries getting ready to launch.

We’ve also made huge improvements in our reworking and overhauling of products: we are continuing to set a high bar for an accessible UX, and we just released our next-generation search and new list builder.

This year we were joined by many Canadian and U.S. libraries, including Gwinnett County Public Library, the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, St. Tammany Parish Library, Jefferson County Public Library, Palo Alto City Library, and Skokie Public Library.

Next to launch their complete online experiences with BiblioCommons, including BiblioCore + BiblioWeb + BiblioEvents, will be Lawrence Public Library (a longtime BiblioCore library that has now implemented BiblioWeb), Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, and Halifax Public Libraries!

At the beginning of 2017, we established three key library values that we want our library software to reflect: to welcome, to inspire, and to connect. In the BiblioCommons Update webinar from November, we framed our progress this way, presented by our co-founder and CEO Beth Jefferson.

1. Welcoming


New Branding: In January of 2017, we gave BiblioCommons a facelift: we introduced our new branding and logo. In comparison to our old logo, the new logo places more focus on the “commons,” our community of library partners.

10 years ago (2007)

10 years ago (2007)

Today: 2017

Today: 2017

The Next-Generation Search: We overhauled our BiblioCore search experience in 2017 by introducing the next-generation search! Infrastructure was majorly improved: we rebuilt it on a new tech stack, resulting in a search page that looks mostly the same but feels faster and smoother. The next-generation search page also comes with a new feature: pinned filters. When you choose to “pin” your filters, they are automatically applied to all subsequent searches.  

Accessibility Improvements: We collaborated with accessibility consultant Simply Accessible, who identified areas for us to work on which we’re improving on an ongoing basis. All new features have had accessibility built-in from the design stage, through to development and testing.  You can watch our webinar on accessibility enhancements and read our blog post on accessibility.

BiblioWeb Upgrades: As part of our drive to make BiblioCommons products accessible to all users, we undertook major accessibility improvements to BiblioWeb in 2017. All links and buttons received a visual and functional facelift, and heading hierarchies and visual styles were made consistent. We also made all BiblioWeb pages SSL-secure, in keeping with web best practices.

New Languages: We’ve added Filipino and Vietnamese for libraries that want native language translations for their BiblioCore catalog. Development for Vietnamese was sponsored by The Seattle Public Library, Multnomah County Library, and San Francisco Public Library. Development for Filipino was sponsored by San Francisco Public Library.

2. Inspiring


New List Builder: The beta of the new list builder for all patrons went live in fall 2017! It was designed in the spring and beta tested in the summer. It’s easier to use, more aesthetically appealing, uncluttered, and works better and faster than before. With the new list builder, staff and patrons can more easily share recommended reads and organize their books. New features include autosaving drafts, a generated “lattice” cover collage, and the “If You Liked…” readalike list type.

New BiblioWeb Content Features: WYSIWYG editor options were added to make cross-merchandising content to patrons even easier!  With the Embed a List tool, staff have the ability to add BiblioCore lists to their blog posts. The Add Library Location option provides staff with a way to add location information to their blog posts, giving patrons quick access to important location information.

BiblioSuggest Updates: We’ve refreshed BiblioSuggest for both staff and patrons. More tools were added to help you manage suggestions.

3. Connecting


Partner Portal Version 2.0: The Partner Portal, first introduced in 2014, was completely refurbished in 2017! It continues to serve as a one-stop hub for support, documentation, news, and a place to share with the BiblioCommons community. The ticketing system has been simplified and improved, issues have been fixed, and it’s now completely responsive.

New BiblioEvents Integration: The BiblioEvents/LibCal integration allows library staff to easily check and reserve rooms online. We worked with Springshare to utilize their room booking service. You can watch us demo the integration in this video on our Facebook page from ALA Midwinter 2018.

Other New Enhancements in 2017

Coding the Commons: We started our tech blog in 2017! Coding the Commons is where our software engineers write about the details of their work – the complex problems they solve in the building and maintaining our library tech – and also where they tackle relevant, thought-provoking topics. We aim to engage with staff, patrons, engineers, and anyone who’s interested in libraries. New entries are regularly posted on the BiblioCommons website and on Medium.

Bullfrog Power Partnership: In January 2017 we partnered with Bullfrog Power to power our software with clean, green energy! The BiblioCore, BiblioWeb, and BiblioEvents production servers are now powered by pollution-free wind and hydropower sourced from renewable energy facilities. By reducing our environmental impact and our partner libraries’, and supporting clean energy initiatives, we’re helping to make the world a better place to live – and we continue to seek out other opportunities that make a difference.

Thank you for being part of the BiblioCommons community! It’s been great to have you as our library partners. 2018 is a big year – it’s our 10th anniversary! – and we have a lot planned. We’re looking forward to working further with you. Happy 2018 from the team at BiblioCommons!