public libraries

Public libraries perform unique and critical roles in their communities. These roles evolve and change with the needs of the people they serve, and they often include economic development, adult and early childhood literacy, support for government programs and more. In response to local funding pressures and the changing needs of their users, public libraries work with OCLC to automate back-office activities, improve services for users and increase the impact of public libraries as a whole.

Kids and librarian working together in public library

OCLC Community Engagement Award

How have you created impact and extended your reach? Public libraries continuously transform to better support local communities. We are excited to recognize and celebrate their significant community engagement work with three $5,000 awards.

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You have the power.

Wise is the first community engagement system for US public libraries. Uniquely holistic in its design, Wise combines the power of customer relationship management, marketing, and analytics with ILS functions.

The Library 100

The top 100 novels of all time.

The Library 100—top novels held in libraries, based on WorldCat—provides a great chance to highlight classic works in your library's collection. The list comes with a “librarians’ kit” of free materials to download and share with your users.

View The Library 100

Read the full report

Learn about public library marketing and communications efforts

A new OCLC report provides an overview of how US public libraries communicate with their users and the broader community.

Read the full report

Read the Public Library of Gouda's story

Make connections between data, collections, and programming

Faced with large cutbacks, the Public Library of Gouda transformed into a lively cultural center at the heart of the local community by empowering self-service and using data to refine the library’s programming.

Read the Public Library of Gouda's story

Woman studying in the library

Build the knowledge, skills, and confidence of your library's staff

WebJunction, a program of OCLC Research, is the learning place for libraries. We provide free webinars, courses, and resources for all staff who want support to make their libraries relevant and vibrant voices in their communities. Our live and recorded webinars and our self-paced online courses cover topics such as community outreach, planning and assessment, space design, social media, and so much more.

Learn more about WebJunction

Photo of a coffee blend supporting Denver Public Library

Engage your community through common interests

Denver Public Library wants people to know that the library is a great resource for any topic that interests them. The library staff reaches people doing the things they love to do outside the library by collaborating with local businesses and community organizations, hosting events throughout the city, and maintaining a strong social media presence.

Read Denver Public Library's story

Blake Graham and Shaun Boyd in the Douglas County History Research Center

Involve your community in local history

The Douglas County History Research Center developed relationships with local organizations and the public to collect historical documents and information to build local history archives. Then, they made that information available to the world through a visual and interactive website that’s easy for archival staff to maintain.

Read Douglas County's story

Exterior of Seaside Public Library

Deliver library resources from around the world as if it’s easy

Although Seaside Public Library serves a small local community, it maintains an impressive interlibrary loan service. The single interlibrary loan staff member relies on specific tools and processes to efficiently fulfill requests and to keep the job fun.

Read Seaside Public Library's story