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, 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.
- The Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK), a consortium of 120 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.
- The Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN), providing internet connections to Ohio public libraries and contributing to the Ohio Web Library.
- The State Library of Ohio, a state agency serving state government and all types of libraries.
- What is Libraries Connect Ohio?
- Who are the Libraries Connect Ohio partners?
- How does Libraries Connect Ohio benefit the state?
- Why license and provide these resources statewide?
- What resources does LCO currently provide?
- Why does LCO provide these resources when the internet is free?
- How are LCO activities funded?
- Will LCO's funding be sustained?
- Who can I contact for more information?
Libraries Connect Ohio (LCO) is a partnership of Ohio libraries and library organizations that work together to 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.
- INFOhio (virtual library and information network for all Ohio PreK-12 schools)
- Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK)
- Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN)
- State Library of Ohio
How does Libraries Connect Ohio benefit the state?
The Ohio Web Library provides all Ohioans with access to the authoritative, educational resources that are necessary for life in the information-intensive 21st century, and ensure that:
- Every school, public, and academic library throughout the state—regardless of size, location, or fiscal resources—has equal access to available online materials.
- Ohio students have a consistent set of online resources to use, at home or at school, as they move through primary, secondary, and higher education.
- Educators across the state have access to a broad range of online materials to support curricula and to meet core competencies and proficiencies.
- Ohio business owners, entrepreneurs, government officials, state employees, and workers have instantaneous access to the vital information necessary to do their jobs, make decisions, develop the workforce, and promote economic growth.
- All Ohioans are provided tools for lifelong learning, and for improving the quality of their personal lives through more informed decisions.
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, encyclopedias, dictionaries, speeches, poems, plays, maps, satellite images of Ohio, and more. For more information about the Ohio Web Library, read the FAQ.
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 trusted information.
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 $1.5 million per year for five years. In addition, the three LCO library networks—INFOhio, OhioLINK, and OPLIN—provide about $2.5 million in state funds each year from their current budgets.
Will LCO's funding be sustained?
There is no permanent funding in place to sustain these resources, let alone expand them. The LSTA grant and matching funds that support the Ohio Web Library are likely to continue as long as funds are available and Ohio libraries/residents continue to see the value in the collection.
Who can I contact for more information?
Please send questions about Libraries Connect Ohio to director (at) oplin (dot) 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.