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Ottawa Public Library awarded for innovation by North American libraries council

September 11, 2018
Mike Vlasveld, Ottawa Matters

The Urban Libraries Council is calling the Ottawa Public Library one of North America’s top 10 innovators.

At this year’s ULC Annual Forum, a panel of expert judges selected the OPL’s Express eBooks offering from 220 submissions in 10 categories.

The 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.

“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.”

The OPL says 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.

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