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

A collage of pictures showing people doing different things at the library.

We celebrate what libraries do and what people love about them. And we help more people understand what their library offers – from reading for pleasure and purpose to social activities that unite communities, combat loneliness and increase wellbeing.

LibraryOn is a not-for-profit initiative and we put libraries and library ethics at our heart. Funded by Arts Council England, LibraryOn is also managing a £1.1m local grant programme. Co-designed with library services, the grants will help libraries improve their own online presence.

While LibraryOn is in development, we will provide information here about its progress.

Go straight to LibraryOn grants programme information

Two photographs in a collage of library users. In the first photo a man is studying at a desk. In the other image a woman is looking thoughtfully while reading a book

Why are we building LibraryOn - and what is a 'public beta'?

Libraries have always been cornerstones of local communities, but today what they offer is not widely understood. Many people don’t know they can get books, audiobooks and e-books for free, and that there are a range of activities and events available to them.

LibraryOn will work with library staff to share the great work they do and highlight what libraries have to offer.

A ‘public beta’ is a version of a project that is a work in progress. We’re building LibraryOn this way because we want to continually test our assumptions of what will help us meet our goals. That means you might notice changes to the site over time.

A collage of photographs from libraries around the country.

If you're part of the library sector, there are a few ways you can be part of the process of creating LibraryOn.

Test it outPut yourself forward as a LibraryOn beta tester

This usually involves us showing you something and asking you your thoughts about it. We can conduct most testing sessions remotely.

Apply for a grantImprove your library service's online presence

We have £1.1m worth of grants to deliver to library services in England. Learn more about LibraryOn grants.

Share your ideasTake part in a drop-in session

We are running regular online sessions for the library sector so you can see what we're doing, ask questions and share your views.

Stay in touch

The best way to stay informed about these opportunities is to sign up for our regular newsletter. If you'd like to receive it, email us at [email protected] to be added to 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.

We are building the platform in an iterative way. That means we define small pieces of work to deliver and test with existing and lapsed library users, non-users and people working in the library sector. Then we refine our work based on feedback.

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, Devon, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Staffordshire, Idea Stores Tower Hamlets, Wakefield, West Sussex, Explore York. All other photography is by Antony Sojka.

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.