May 19, 2022

British Library to Prototype UK-Wide Digital Platform For Public Libraries

From UK Authority:

The British Library has begun work on a prototype of a UK-wide digital platform for public libraries.

It has begun the work over the past few days with its delivery partner, public sector digital services specialist dxw, to test the concept as part of its Single Digital Presence project.

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More From The British Library

We see the build of a digital platform as one part of a wider project of the digital transformation of public libraries here in the UK. Its success depends on more open and integrated systems under the bonnet. This requires the promotion of common ways of working, and advocating for open data, ensuring that library management systems efficiently and intuitively talk to each other.

The build of a digital platform should also include the development and promotion of open and accessible communities of practice. What does this mean? In the digital world a community of practice brings people working on similar projects together to solve common problems and promote common ways of doing things. In the public library sector this could mean the promotion of open source tools to make local library websites easier to use, while encouraging knowledge exchange and data sharing throughout the sector. Real digital innovation means working as openly and collaboratively as possible, and we believe this should be at the heart of how libraries use and improve their digital offer.

And with this in place, we think a UK-wide digital platform for libraries should focus on the three enduring pillars of a library service. People, content and space.

It should strive to unlock collections, making finding public library material online easier and more enjoyable. It should amplify the library as social, physical space. Promoting activities, events and programmes happening within public libraries. And it should build a large, engaged and healthy community of library users online, interacting both with library content, staff and each other.

Done correctly, this holds the potential to build a safe, trusted, digital civic space, with the values of the library at its heart.

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See Also:  Digital Transformations for UK public libraries: five approaches to a ‘Single Digital Presence
30 pages; June 2019.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.