de Bibliotheek Rotterdam

Build stronger community engagement

Rotterdam Public Library customer browsing books

“This shared innovation power, the togetherness, and the ability to ask for improvements or differences in the system show that together we’re flexible enough. There are a lot of critical users of Wise, and I can assure you that together we’re on a good track for developing a beautiful, better future.”

Theo Kemperman
Former General Director

Rotterdam Public Library supports the people of the second largest city in the Netherlands. “As soon as our customers are happy, we are happy,” said former General Director Theo Kemperman, “and my life would be miserable if they were not happy.” The library serves an important, multifaceted role in the community. “We're not only about reading and education,” he said, “but also about art, about community, about debate, and about whatever you need to be a wise citizen.”

Since 2014, the library has relied on Wise to support its mission. Theo explained, “What we needed was a program that could help us with innovation in the development and support of the services we provide.” The library staff uses Wise’s marketing tool to promote thousands of events to targeted customers. Wise allows libraries to collect information about customer activity to get a better understanding of specific interests and community needs.

Rotterdam’s customers especially enjoy the discovery tool, which allows them to find resources locally, in the National Library, and in other Dutch libraries. “It is connecting our library to the country, actually, to the Netherlands,” Theo said. And it allows customers to help themselves, he added. “They are self-supporting, and that's what they expect.”

“If we come up with new ideas—not us as a single library, but us as a field—I'm glad that OCLC is the organization developing and investigating new developments.”

As Theo noted, more than 75% of Dutch libraries currently use Wise. With such a large user base, “We wanted to profit from that knowledge. We wanted to profit from those innovations as well,” he said. “Since there are so many people using this program, you can benefit from the knowledge and the testing of others.” And now that Wise is available to libraries in the United States, Theo looks forward to further improvements. “OCLC is really eager to participate and to learn more about what we need, about how we can do it together,” he said.

“I'm a happy member of the OCLC family,” Theo added. “For me, knowing that we're part of a bigger family that is more agile in finding better solutions than a small company, which isn't what you might expect, that's a comforting idea.” His team works regularly with OCLC developers and support staff, exchanging innovative ideas, questioning each other, and working together to find the best solutions for Wise. “You can have a voice in the way it grows and develops, and that's what I like about OCLC very much,” he said.

Services used by Rotterdam Public Library

Wise (in Dutch)

Metadata services via the agreement between OCLC and the KB National Library of the Netherlands

Resource sharing via the agreement between OCLC and the KB National Library of the Netherlands

Map showing location of Rotterdam Public Library

Library at a glance

  • Established in 1604 and became independent in 2013
  • Serves as Rotterdam’s most popular cultural institution with almost 2.5 million visitors, nearly 3 million loans, and thousands of activities each year
  • Consists of a main library in the city center and 18 branch libraries in the surrounding neighborhoods

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