The OCLC cooperative is investing in three programs that advance the work of librarians and libraries as well as the ideals of librarianship.
Championing UK libraries online
Bookmark Your Library is a new program aimed at boosting visibility and usage of public library resources and services in the UK. The goal is to promote public library services online, and make them accessible via a single digital presence.
Bookmark Your Library is home to FABLibraries, the UK’s only public library national catalogue, which is based on the holdings of UnityUK subscribers. The website is a collaborative effort between OCLC and several leading library organisations in the UK.
Janene Cox, President of the Society of Chief Librarians, affirms its support for the initiative and discussed how Bookmark Your Library is aligned with its National Digital Promise for public libraries in Wales, England and Northern Ireland. “It is essential that all public library authorities deliver digital services alongside traditional ones,” she says. “These services should be accessible to all regardless of ability. As part of our Digital Promise, we have worked with OCLC to define Bookmark Your Library, which gives libraries a 24/7 virtual presence and people a website for common access to local and national digital services. ”
“It is essential that all public library authorities deliver digital services alongside traditional ones. These services should be accessible to all regardless of ability.”
Partners in advocacy
Advocacy programs often seek to provide a direct and explicit link between the work of libraries and specific community or personal goals. That’s a key part of helping spread the word about the important work libraries do. Equally important, however, is the more subtle and indirect effect of connecting libraries to other services and resources that serve similar audiences.
“The goal of our partner program is to get libraries out in front of as many people in as many ways as possible,” explains Chip Nilges, OCLC Vice President of Business Development. “When that happens within the context of how people are already getting work done, it provides a win for libraries as well as users.”
“There are a variety of organizations that really value the work of libraries and want to connect with their users,” adds Cindy Cunningham, OCLC Director of Partner Programs. “Publishers, search and geotagging services, review sites, educational software providers, author organizations…they already have a vested interest in reaching library audiences. Because OCLC members work together on cooperative data and services, we can help make that happen much more easily than any one library working alone.”
“The more that libraries are represented in mainstream information services,” Chip concludes, “the more opportunities there will be to influence outcomes in ways that harmonize with the profession’s values. That’s a kind of advocacy that can make a real-world difference to our communities every day.”
New program helps shine a light on any library
For years, OCLC has used and improved publicly available information from a variety of resources to prepopulate library location and contact information within a variety of services. The Library Spotlight program takes this a step further, allowing any library to add, edit and update information in a central resource.
“With one easy step,” says Jeff Penka, OCLC End-User Services Portfolio Director and project lead, “any library can increase its presence on the Web and help people find it both online and off. Registering with the Library Spotlight program connects information seekers to libraries with a variety of online services. It’s a centralized resource for global library information that easily plugs into Web searches, directories, discovery services and libraries’ own websites.”
Currently, the service allows libraries to provide information about locations, hours of operation, contact information, key Web links, highlighted local and special collections and photos. “Over time,” Jeff comments, “we’ll add more types of information to the service, as we hear back from libraries about what they think would be most useful and engaging.”
Library information from the program will be visible to the millions of people who use WorldCat.org every month through the “Find a Library” feature. A custom, mobile-optimized link also lets libraries easily publish information to smartphones and other mobile devices. And partnerships with other online services such as Yelp help people find library resources through the online sites they already use the most.
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