UKOLN Putting Imagination Online: Public Libraries, The Internet and Literature

Seminar given at the Arts Council Reading for Life conference, April 1998.

How can public libraries use the Internet to develop literature services?

Links to example websites of some of these services can be found at:

1.Enhanced OPACs – to include plot synopses, author, biographies, reviews, links to similar books, related information sources, cover shots, etc. (try the search engine)

2.Book discussion groups hosted by the library

3.Contact with authors – live online interviews (email or video conferencing), local authors exclusive to a particular library, libraries linking up with national and international events.(look at the online events organised by Barnes and Noble

4.Storytelling – using video conferencing to link branch libraries.

5.Creative writing groups

6.Gateways to literature resources – nationally developed gateways to international resources. (no literature gateway yet but have a look at the Social Science one).

7.Housebound services – using enhanced OPACs to make more informed choices and reserving books online.

8.Interactive services – developing activities based on a work or character, particularly for children. (An example is the Treasure Island site that UKOLN has developed).

9.Links with schools – joint projects.

10. Interactivity and promotions – email voting for ‘Top Ten book awards’, quizzes and competitions.

11. Accessing library (services) from elsewhere – using the library when the building is closed.

12. Literacy services –computer and traditional literacy skills

13. Learning online – online creative writing, literature appreciation classes.(have a look at Writers Block)

14. New ways of reading and writing – non-linear, hypertext (offers readers multiple choices, different beginings, middles and ends).

15. Following customer reading patterns – building a profile of customers reading patterns and using push technologies to email suggested titles/authors. ( is building up customer profiles and e-mailing them with details of new books they might like).

16. Access to minority language materials

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