Libraries Connect Ohio

Libraries Connect Ohio (LCO) is a partnership of Ohio libraries and library organizations that work together to build and provide the Ohio Web Library core collection of information resources. The principal partners are:

INFOhio logo  INFOhio, the statewide cooperative school library and information network, supporting and enriching teaching and learning by providing equitable access to quality resources for Ohio's PreK-12 community of students, educators and parents.

OhioLINK logo  The Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK), a consortium of 88 Ohio college and university libraries, and the State Library of Ohio, that work together to provide Ohio students, faculty and researchers with the information they need for teaching and research.

OPLIN logo  The Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN), providing Internet connections to Ohio public libraries and the Explore Ohio web site in addition to contributing to the Ohio Web Library.

State Library logo  The State Library of Ohio, a state agency serving state government and all types of libraries.

  1. What Is Libraries Connect Ohio?
  2. Who Are the Libraries Connect Ohio Partners?
  3. How Does Libraries Connect Ohio Benefit the State?
  4. Why License and Provide These Resources Statewide?
  5. What Resources Does LCO Currently Provide?
  6. What Resources Should LCO Ultimately Provide Via the Ohio Web Library?
  7. Why Does LCO Provide These Resources When the Internet Is Free?
  8. How Are LCO Activities Funded?
  9. Will LCO's Funding Be Sustained?
  10. How Can I Support Libraries Connect Ohio?
  11. Who Can I Contact for More Information?

What Is Libraries Connect Ohio?

(Download one-page PDF information sheet about Libraries Connect Ohio)

Libraries Connect Ohio (LCO) is a partnership of Ohio libraries and library organizations that are working together to build and provide a core collection of information resources and library services that will help all Ohioans compete in the global knowledge economy. This collection of resources, called the Ohio Web Library, supports quality education, a skilled workforce, business growth, and lifelong learning in Ohio. By providing resources statewide, LCO can cost-effectively provide necessary information resources to all Ohioans, regardless of their location, age, education or economic status. However, the current collection of resources in the Ohio Web Library is just the beginning. It continues to grow slowly, limited by budget restrictions. Rough estimates suggest that a complete core collection of the resources necessary for Ohioans to compete in the global knowledge economy would cost $8-10 million per year.

Who Are the Libraries Connect Ohio Partners?

Libraries Connect Ohio is a collaborative effort of Ohio libraries and the following organizations:

How Does Libraries Connect Ohio Benefit the State?

While the ideal Ohio Web Library has not yet been realized, work has begun and more than many resources are already available statewide. A robust Ohio Web Library will provide all Ohioans with access to the authoritative, educational resources that are necessary for life in the information-intensive 21st century, and ensure that:

Why License and Provide These Resources Statewide?

As a democracy, it is critical that access to necessary information resources be provided to all citizens. Historically, in print and even now via the Internet, the highest quality information is sold commercially. Libraries have traditionally provided the means of providing information access to the masses. By working together and purchasing authoritative, commercially provided reference and research resources at the statewide level, Libraries Connect Ohio is able to provide all Ohioans with access to the resources necessary for life in the information-intensive 21st century. Comprehensive individual purchases by libraries across the state are not affordable and thus statewide access is not assured. If every school, college, university, and public library were to purchase these resources individually, either in print or electronic forms, the cost would be in the multi-millions of dollars. With ever-tightening local budgets, few libraries can afford these resources on their own, let alone the space to store them. Electronic access also allows for more convenient, faster, and cheaper information sharing.

What Resources Does LCO Currently Provide?

Via the Ohio Web Library, Libraries Connect Ohio provides instant access to thousands of online publications and research resources. The current Ohio Web Library includes: popular magazines, trade publications, scholarly research journals, newspapers from Ohio and the nation, encyclopedias, dictionaries, speeches, poems, plays, maps, satellite images of Ohio, and more. For more information about the Ohio Web Library, read the FAQ.

What Resources Should LCO Ultimately Provide Via the Ohio Web Library?

In addition to what is currently available in the Ohio Web Library, a fully implemented, core collection would provide information resources to:

  1. Improve All K-12 school districts in meeting core competencies and proficiencies.
  2. Improve K-12 students' readiness for higher education.
  3. Support workforce development and lifelong learning in adult population of Ohio.
  4. Support the ability of Ohioans to improve the quality of their personal lives through more informed decisions.

The major elements of a fully implemented Ohio Web Library would include: almanacs, encyclopedias, dictionaries, health trends and reference resources, general interest journals and magazines, sciences trends and data, U.S. events and issues, geographic data, economic data, business magazines and journals, technology trends and reference resources, Ohio events and issues, great literature, and world events and issues. The specific composition of the ideal Ohio Web Library would change and grow with the rapid changes in information technology and Ohioans' evolving needs.

Why Does LCO Provide These Resources When the Internet Is Free?

It is a myth that the authoritative information Ohioans need for school, work and lifelong learning is available for free on the Internet. Authoritative information has never been and will never be free. When you need reliable, authoritative resources for school assignments, business research or lifelong education, turn to the Ohio Web Library for information you can trust.

While the free Internet can also be useful in the research process, you have to watch out for broken links, unverified information, questionable results from search engines and fees for full-text materials. The Ohio Web Library goes beyond the Internet and provides you with access to subscription-only resources. Ohio Web Library resources are verified by editors and scholars, are created by reliable sources and are acceptable for class assignments.

How Are LCO Activities Funded?

As a taxpayer, you fund the Ohio Web Library through a combination of state and federal taxes. Specifically, the Ohio Web Library is funded by a federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant through the State Library of Ohio, which provides about $1.4 million per year for five years. In addition, the three LCO library networks—INFOhio, OhioLINK and OPLIN—provide about $2.8 million in state funds each year from their current budgets.

Will LCO's Funding Be Sustained?

The LSTA grant that helps fund the Ohio Web Library is a temporary funding measure that expires every year on June 30. There is no permanent funding in place to sustain these resources, let alone expand them. Therefore, it is imperative that we find a stable funding resource for the Ohio Web Library. Libraries Connect Ohio is currently working to inform the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate about the need for stable state funding for Ohio Web Library resources. However, the current collection of resources is just the beginning. Rough estimates suggest that a complete core collection of the resources necessary to compete in the global knowledge economy would cost $8-10 million.

How Can I Support Libraries Connect Ohio?

Who Can I Contact for More Information?

Please send questions about Libraries Connect Ohio to ohioweblibrary@oplin.org. If you need help finding information or using the Ohio Web Library, please contact your local public library, academic library or school library for assistance. Or visit KnowItNow 24x7 to chat with a librarian online.