Who We Are
We build and maintain fast, reliable, secure, and well-supported IT infrastructure for our members. We also work on numerous projects that use this infrastructure for the benefit of our members. Our members include approximately 200 diverse, Canadian, not-for-profit, library-related organizations. We describe ourselves in two ways:
1. An Enterprising Not-for-Profit
Our organization was founded in 2009 to develop the Evergreen® open-source ILS to support a new generation of library service in British Columbia. Since then, we have grown in both membership and range of services to take advantage of opportunities we see for our members, and in response to what our members tell us they need in their communities. We are governed by a board elected by our members, and we welcome member participation through a number of channels
2. A Technology Leader
We help our members do a lot with a little. When it comes to IT infrastructure, our aim is to increase technological capacity in all of our members’ communities. We aim high, and as a hybrid between a traditional library consortium and a technology start-up we are a unique organization in Canada.
What We Do
We conduct business based on shared values. We work and innovate for public benefit, to reduce costs and to extend service delivery across our membership. We do these things by:
- supporting consortium purchasing and economies of scale;
- saving money by making the most of open source technology;
- driving innovation by designing services for inter-operability and open access;
- creating opportunities for members to work together;
- respecting our members’ voices in the development of Co-op services;
- offering full service support and training for every service;
- working with fellow cooperatives and like-minded organizations to advance the sector.
Our members come from every province in Canada and include public, school, academic, and special libraries, as well as governments, associations, school districts, library consortia, and fellow Co-ops.
Any organization in Canada working with libraries or museums may join the Libraries Co-op, and while they must join in order to participate in our services, members pick and choose from what we have to offer, and participate in ways they choose themselves.
The Co-op is a limited‐liability, non‐profit corporate body registered under the Cooperative Association Act of BC.
More about us:
We partner with other organizations in order to advance both our sector and the shared commitments of our members:
Digitizing local and historical content
We’re part of the BC Digitization Coalition, a group working toward the creation of a provincial digitization strategy in British Columbia. Our main project, West Beyond the West (WBTW), is a portal providing free and open access to British Columbia’s digitized historical collections. WBTW also offers BC’s heritage organizations with a reliable hosting solution for their digitized historical collections.
Expanding access to Canada’s fastest fibre optic network
Through our partnership with BCNET our data centre and select member libraries are connected to Canada’s Advanced Research and Innovation Network, an ultra-fast, 10-Gigabit, fibre optic network operated by CANARIE. Our aim is to increase access to this network for our members.
Linking open data across organizations and sectors
Through our participation in Linked Open Data in Libraries, Archives, and Museums (LODLAM), we make sure our members have a way to contribute to the open data movement. For an introduction to LODLAM, we recommend Jon Voss’ paper, “Radically Open Cultural Heritage Data on the Web.” In 2015, we organized a workshop for the annual LODLAM conference.
Incubating good ideas and supporting innovation in communities
In partnership with the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC, and the Simon Fraser University Library, the Co-op presents Imagine BC, an annual opportunity for residents of British Columbia to pitch ideas to a jury. Winning ideas receive funding for up to $7,000 and their projects address identified community needs or interests, such as volunteerism, small business development, digital literacy, community engagement, cultural programming, social inclusion or local history.
Creating and promoting accessible library service
Approximately 10% of Canadians cannot read print books because of a visual, mobility, or cognitive disability. The Co-op is the service provider for the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS), an online collection of downloadable books in accessible formats for readers who need them, and available as a supplement to existing public library collections. NNELS is a partnership of the provincial governments of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and Saskatchewan, as well as the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon.