BiblioCommons 2018 Year in Review

In 2018, BiblioCommons celebrated its 10th anniversary of creating online experiences with public libraries. The team also launched a number of exciting innovations including FRBRized Grouped Search results in the BiblioCore catalog, v3 of BiblioWeb, and a proof of concept for the new omnichannel marketing platform—BiblioOmni.

2018 also saw the launch of a number of libraries on the complete BiblioCommons platform—(BiblioWeb + BiblioEvents + BiblioCore) including Las Vegas Clark County Library District, Greene County Public Library, Palo Alto Public Library, Halifax Public Library, and St. Paul Public Library.

Three long-time partner libraries, Boston Public Library, Central Rappahannock Regional Library and Lawrence Public Library all launched new BiblioWeb-powered online experiences, and many new libraries launched BiblioCore catalogs including Oshawa Public Library, Yorba Linda Public Library, Washington County Cooperative, and Jackson County Library Services.

New libraries joined the BiblioCommons community starting new implementations in 2018 including San Antonio Public Library (TX), Hillsborough-Tampa (FL), Indianapolis Public Library (IN), Contra Costa County Library (CA), Santa Clara City Library (CA), Burlington Public Library (ON, Canada), Gail Borden Public Library (IL), Herrick District Library (MI), and Pleasanton Public Library (CA).

In combination with the revolutionary FRBRized Grouped Search launching in 2018, the BiblioCore catalog was also enhanced with the Format Chooser feature which allows patrons to see all formats and their availability on every bibliographic page—improving not just discovery for patrons but also helping collections managers managing holds ratios by ensuring patrons can easily access titles that are actively available for check out rather than placing holds on the first format they see (often the eBook and the most expensive format to buy as well as the format most likely to be already checked out). Other new BiblioCore features include improved, more accessible carousels to feature library collections, the ability for library staff to easily copy and download cover images from recommendation lists to customize formatting, fully responsive shelves for personal record-keeping, new borrowing pages, new Library Admin options, as well as new analytics tracking options.

To create a better search experience for patrons, BiblioCore also now provides keyword search auto-suggest and a new feature at the bottom of every page of search results to help patrons discover other resources beyond the catalog—with the “Didn’t Find What You Are Looking For” option, libraries can point patrons toward online article databases, digital history resources, chat, and other options—and the search conducted in BiblioCore will be passed through to the additional resources. This augments the current feature of integrating library events, blog posts or online resources into the patron’s search path via “Feature in Catalog.”

With BiblioCloudRecords, BiblioCommons allows libraries to add eContent resources to the patron catalog without needing to add the MARC records to the ILS. In 2018, BiblioCommons added Hoopla content to the existing OverDrive integration—allowing libraries to feature their Hoopla and OverDrive content in their BiblioCore catalogs automatically via APIs and as soon as the content is available from the vendors and without needing additional work by cataloging staff.

In order to provide Room Booking functionality to libraries using BiblioEvents, the team worked with Springshare to integrate with the LibCal APIs and provide a seamless experience between the Springshare Room Bookings module and the creation of events in BiblioEvents. Other enhancements to BiblioEvents included wait-listing, improved printing options and improved registration options.   

An important research and development project for 2018 was the BiblioOmni proof of concept. With the goal of creating a powerful omni-channel marketing platform for public libraries in order to deliver the right message to the right patron at the right time while also keeping in mind library values of privacy and choice and limited staff time, the BiblioCommons team conducted demonstrations and focus groups with public library web managers and library marketing experts in order to plan for a product release in 2019.

One of the biggest advancements of 2018 for BiblioCommons was the release of BiblioWeb 3.0. Coupling the existing library-optimized WordPress backend of BiblioWeb with a best in class page builder will give public libraries using BiblioWeb flexibility to create their own templates, design their own homepages, and enable a more visually browsable online experience for library patrons. BiblioWeb v3 was released in November of 2018 when the beta libraries were trained and started their migrations to be completed in early 2019. Chicago Public Library, King County Library System, Pima County Public Library, Edmonton Public Library and St. Louis Public Library are the five beta libraries for v3. All current BiblioWeb libraries will likely be migrated to v3 by the end of next year, and new BiblioWeb v3 implementations will start in Q1 of 2019.


In the end, of the most memorable highlights of 2018 was the 10th anniversary party held at PLA in Philadelphia to honor all the libraries that have joined the BiblioCommons community and made the last 10 years possible. We are grateful and honored to work with so many incredible, innovative libraries, and we look forward to an exciting 2019 with new libraries joining the community and building better online experiences for all.