AboutLibraryOn

LibraryOn connects libraries and people. Our goal is to increase the number of people who use libraries, both in person and online.

Two young men at laptops facing each other. They are doing university work at their local library.

LibraryOn celebrates what libraries do and what people love about them. We help people discover libraries by sharing content that tells inspiring, true stories. We also enable more people to enjoy libraries by improving digital access to information and services.

What is LibraryOn

LibraryOn is a publicly-funded, not-for-profit programme that promotes the work of public libraries. It aims to increase visits to public libraries by making their offers and services easier to discover and use.

Funded by Arts Council England, and with libraries and library ethics at its heart, LibraryOn currently does this in two core ways:

  • Through the LibraryOn website, we share content that tells real stories from library staff, customers and volunteers. And we communicate the range of services, community activities and content libraries offer. By showing the real difference libraries make, we aim to encourage more people to explore what they offer – in-person and online.
  • The LibraryOn grants programme distributed £1.5m of funding to library services across England in 2023 to help library services make the most of the opportunities technology offers to be able to connect to their audiences. Through the funding we have been able to support library services to improve their online presence and discoverability. We also convene a Community of Practice for grant recipients to connect and share information and inspiration.

Learn more about the LibraryOn grants programme

Why are we building LibraryOn?

Libraries have always been cornerstones of local communities, but today what they offer is not widely understood. We hope to update perceptions of how public libraries help individuals and communities by repositioning libraries as modern and relevant spaces that are open to everyone.

In addition, our goal is for LibraryOn to become a gateway to libraries on a national level. We’ll continue to add functionality to the LibraryOn website as we build a national platform that helps everyone access services provided by libraries online. Digital information and services are the default for many people in society, and we want everyone to get the same kind of experience from libraries.

Getting involved

If you work in the library sector, there are a few ways you can be part of the process of creating LibraryOn:

Get in touch

Share your story

LibraryOn documents the wonderful work of public libraries in the UK. Get in touch if you have a story you think we should hear, or feedback to share.

Email your story/feedback to [email protected]

Meet the team

Join a Zoom drop-in

We host a monthly Zoom drop-in so you can see what we're doing, ask questions and share your views.

Register for next drop-in: 26th June 2024

Sector updates

Get our newsletter

Our library sector newsletter goes out fortnightly. It shares the latest LibraryOn news and resources.

Email [email protected] to join the mailing list

Who is building LibraryOn?

This project has been led by the British Library, working in consultation with Arts Council England as well as libraries and library bodies across the UK. To create LibraryOn we have developed a new in-house multidisciplinary team with digital expertise.

The wider programme contributes towards broader digital transformation through local and national approaches. You can find out more about the history of the project by reading our blog posts on the British Library website.

Photography credits

Many thanks to the following library services for contributing their imagery to the LibraryOn website: Birmingham, Camden, Devon, Gateshead, Greenwich, Hampshire, Kent, Leeds, Manchester, Plymouth, Rochdale, Sheffield, Staffordshire, Idea Stores Tower Hamlets, Wakefield, West Sussex, Explore York.

Credit in addition to Business & I.P Centre (BIPC) and Centre for Ageing Better for imagery. Original photography by Antony Sojka and Justyna Gosch.

The ethos of the LibraryOn project is to function as a collaborative space with the public and the library sector; we invite photographers of all levels to contribute in creating an inspiring visual experience that celebrate what libraries do and what people love about them. Contact us at [email protected] to express an interest.