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A better online catalog was just the beginning

Our mission is to create shared digital spaces where public libraries thrive and are empowered to welcome, inspire, and connect the diverse communities they serve.

Where We Came From

BiblioCommons didn't set out to create a better online catalog for public libraries, but it's where we ended up. It all began as a non-profit youth literacy initiative. With a background in marketing and hi-tech, co-founder and former CEO, Beth Jefferson, started the perF!nk Project (Perceive.Feel.Think.) to investigate ways emerging technologies from popular culture could add social context to reading.

The perF!nk Project won a national award from the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) and began attracting broader attention—particularly from libraries.

An opportunity emerged with the Toronto Public Library to apply the same concepts of the perF!nk Project to a Teen Summer Reading program pilot.

Began exploring the potential of creating an engaged online community inside of the online public access catalog (OPAC), where users could see reviews and discussion threads.  

Perfink caught the attention of The Ontario Library Association (OLA). Over the next 18 months, BiblioCommons explored the possibilities for re-envisioning the library catalog.

Three Canadian provincial agencies funded prototypes and purchased advanced subscriptions. With this early support, BiblioCommons rolled out services to interested libraries.

Following a year-long beta with six libraries, BiblioCommons officially re-launched its re-architected services (with improved scalability, reliability, and usability) to several large systems in late 2009.

Where We Are Going

We envision a public digital space where communities of readers and learners help each other grow, discover, and explore ideas, information, and stories. Public libraries are much more than just access to free content. They stand for trust, neutrality, openness, inspiration, and the freedom to explore one's curiosity wherever it may lead. With new technology and emerging needs, libraries must continue thinking ambitiously about ways to serve their communities, and BiblioCommons is here to help.

The Team That’s Taking Us There

The BiblioTeam is comprised of a diverse group of talented people that come from both technical and library backgrounds. We care deeply about helping public libraries make their online spaces as welcoming, inspiring, and connected as their physical spaces are. Our ultimate goal is to take the best of public libraries and the best practices of the web to create digital experiences that are engaging, easy to use, accessible, and personalized; and empower libraries to reduce barriers to access, broaden and diversify their audience, and position themselves as the go-to resource in their community.

At the Heart of Everything We Do Are Our Strong Values

We understand that meaningful impact is fueled by how we approach the relationships we have with one another and our customers. It’s this same spirit of collaboration and support that drives the work we do.


Aim high and have limitless ambitions as we strive to understand and solve the challenges that public libraries face.


Think long-term while also taking the small steps that will set us in the right direction and be adaptable in the face of setbacks.


Be intentional about choices and invest in simplifying the complex while learning best practices from other sectors.


Listen actively, be transparent about your insights and ideas, and demonstrate empathy to colleagues and customers.


Step up and help others in need, be open to diverse opinions, and think holistically to understand how your work impacts others.


Care deeply about the quality of your work, be accountable, take initiative, and commit to your own continuous learning.

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