As libraries have adopted makerspaces and other physical community engagement programs over the past few years, awareness has grown as to the important role libraries play in engagement of their local creative community. BiblioBoard offers a full service Community Engagement solution to libraries wishing to expand this influence into the digital world.

“Amazon or Google will never be able to engage a local creative community like the local library,” says Carolyn Morris, VP of Digital for BiblioBoard. “Most libraries already embrace their local creative community in the physical world with inspiring book collections, makerspaces, exhibit spaces and meeting room support. Now, libraries can create digital spaces for local creators to archive and share their work with people locally and around the world.”

One year ago at ALA Annual, Library Journal and BiblioBoard launched SELF-e—an innovative beta program focused on making it easy for libraries to make available eBooks from local authors. Since that time, the SELF-e program has seen enormous growth and now includes many of the top library systems in the country. When combined with BiblioBoard’s Creator tools—multimedia publishing tools that help libraries work with local artists, photographers, musicians, filmmakers and historians—a library can offer a full suite of Community Engagement programs for the entire community.

Working from an original base of five beta libraries, it has quickly become the leading library discovery platform for self-published books. After successful kick-off Indie Author events at Los Angeles, Cuyahoga, San Diego and Queens public libraries earlier in the year, statewide modules featuring content from indie published authors have launched in Ohio, California, Illinois, Arizona and New York with Texas, Washington and several others scheduled to launch in the coming weeks. After authors expressed demand, the program has also expanded in recent weeks to include books in English by international authors.

The value of the program rests on two important, but interdependent solutions: 1) the ease with which any library can make available local author eBooks and 2) the power of curation by Library Journal editors to help libraries find the best self-published books. “We’re very excited to offer SELF-e to librarians—for years they’ve been asking us for guidance on finding the best self-published books and how to accommodate local authors who want their materials in the library. SELF-e helps to solve both of those problems. From the patron’s point of view, it’s a win as well, as our curated modules feature some authors who are already beloved—Ursula Lecoeur, for example, who is widely read and whose books have been positively reviewed in the pages of LJ,” says Henrietta Verma, Editor, Reviews at Library Journal. BiblioBoard and Library Journal will release their first “best of the best” module: LJ SELF-e Select at this year’s ALA conference with other genre based modules scheduled to launch later in the year.

“The SELF-e program really made our Community Engagement solution complete,” says Morris. “When added to our Creator tools, it is the perfect library solution and is very affordable. We see libraries doing all sorts of creative things since in addition to books they can also work with images, video, audio, ephemera and other media being produced locally or that they already have in their archives. We see schools working with libraries to put up old yearbooks, libraries inviting in local artists and photographers to create portfolios, local film festivals and improv troupes cataloging their work with the local public library, really all sorts of innovative applications of our technology. This creates value for the patron but also simple cataloging and patron access to all of the local community’s creative output through our state-of-the-art delivery platform. With a little social media savvy, this can be a springboard for developing a fanbase both for the artist and for the library and our unlimited multi-user, consumer-grade user experience ensures that people will stick around.”

The number of submissions to the program is expanding exponentially right now, said Morris, with each month doubling over the month before. “We have worked with our library partners to tie this into local events and promotions, and it is working. We have upcoming Indie Author Day events at Seattle Public and an Indie Creator Day at Bexar (BiblioTech) TX. Every time we have an event like this, we see submissions and engagement spike.”

BiblioBoard will be sharing their Community Engagement program at ALA in booth 1146.

About BiblioBoard

BiblioBoard is the PatronsFirst™ mobile library. The folks behind BiblioBoard are a powerful team based in Charleston, S.C. They aim to transform access to information by providing a world-class user experience that thrills library patrons and is profitable for publishers. BiblioBoard is moving library content delivery into the future in a sustainable way. BiblioBoard, used by nearly 2,700 libraries and in three statewide eBook projects, reaches 30 million patrons. BiblioBoard has won numerous design and product awards including the 2014 Modern Library Award.


Hunter Horton

PR & Marketing Coordinator


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