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Ottawa Public Library wins Innovation Award from the Urban Libraries Council

Sep 10 2018

Ottawa – The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) recognized Ottawa Public Library (OPL) as one of 10 Top Innovators during the 2018 ULC Annual Forum held September 5 to 7 in Baltimore, MD. A panel of expert judges selected the Ottawa Public Library’s Express eBooks offering from 220 submissions in 10 categories. Ottawa Public Library won in the category of “Collections that demonstrate the value and impact of public library service” for being the first public library in Canada – and among the first in North America – to introduce an Express eBook service.

The 2018 Top Innovators and Honorable Mentions were announced during a special Innovations Celebration on September 6 in Baltimore. Award winners were recognized for their innovative programs, services, and operating practices. All 2018 ULC Innovations can be viewed at UrbanLibraries.org.

“Today’s public libraries are bold and pioneering community leaders that play many roles, from educational institutions to technology centers and entrepreneurial hubs,” said Urban Libraries Council President and CEO Susan Benton. “I congratulate Ottawa Public Library for illustrating a persistent commitment to realizing a groundbreaking initiative that has transformed their community.”

Price and licensing models of eBooks are significant challenges for libraries, and looking at innovative ways to improve access to eBooks, balanced with fiscal sustainability, is critical for long-term success.  In 2017, OPL launched an eBook platform dedicated to bestselling titles. The platform mirrored the physical Express collection ( one week borrowing time as opposed to three weeks) to improve the availability of high-demand eBook titles for a higher return on investment with a fixed budget.

“Ottawa is a highly-wired city, and at OPL, we strive to deliver a positive customer experience, regardless of format.  The introduction of our Express eBook platform allowed us to digitally mirror the physical experience, and the results have been astounding,” said Danielle McDonald, CEO of OPL.  “Customers now benefit from service consistency, quicker access to sought-after bestselling titles, and knowing that this platform is making more efficient use of their tax dollars.”

About Urban Libraries Council

Urban Libraries Council (ULC), founded in 1971, is the voice for public libraries and the force that inspires them to evolve. ULC creates the tools, techniques, and ideas to make ongoing improvements and upgrades in services and technology. ULC also speaks loudly and clearly about the value public libraries bring to communities, and secures funding for research that results in the development of new programs and services. And by serving as a forum for library leadership, ULC produces innovative ideas and best practices that ensure community impact.

The Ottawa Public Library (OPL) is the largest bilingual (English/French) public library system in North America. The OPL extends public access to information and services through the library’s 34 branches, physical and virtual at www.BiblioOttawaLibrary.ca, as well as two mobile libraries and a vending machine-style lending library service. Serving close to one million Ottawa residents, OPL’s mission is to inspire learning, spark curiosity, and connect people. Follow us on Twitter www.Twitter.com/OPL_BPO and like us on Facebook www.Facebook.com/OPLBPO. Contact us at 613-580-2940 or InfoService@BiblioOttawaLibrary.ca. If it’s out there, it’s in here!

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Media: Media@BiblioOttawaLibrary.ca