About Queens Virtual Library: What Does It Mean for Libraries?

Queens Library has been a called "the most tech-savvy library system in the world," but sadly much of that well-deserved reputation has been earned from innovation in our operations that are well known within the library community but not in areas that the public can easily identify.

Queens Virtual Library platform will change all that by bringing new and fresh technology solutions to everyday transactions.

Our ultimate goal is to tear down obstacles to access and information silos that frustrate our patrons, so they can achieve information literacy on their own terms, across any touchpoint or channel. Say goodbye to-hard-to-use library tools forever!

2 girls with tablet

Tablet Interface
(Loaning Program)

Queens Library built its first custom mobile tablet interface specifically to extend its programs and services to areas where accessing a physical facility proved challenging due to a local natural disaster.

Girl with smartphone

BYOD Mobile

Patrons can now "bring your own device" to connect to Queens Library. By leveraging the knowledge and know-how of working on the mobile tablet platform, our mobile development team was able to offer an extensive feature set to any patron with a library account, smart phone, and ready access to the Google Play store or Apple iTunes.

2 college guys with smartphone

Custom eDevices and

Working with our ILS and eContent partners, Queens Library has implemented an enhanced user experience and roadmapped vast improvements to operations via smart devices and digital services for our patrons. This includes areas such as self-service kiosks, self-publishing, archival preservation, and general search and discovery.


Standards, Custom
Applications and Services

Queens Library is actively engaged in standards body discussions such as Readers First, ODPS Working group, Readium Forums, and DPLA. We are also actively advocating for the modernization of library operations and patron authentication with market leaders that are active partners.

Queens Virtual Library : How Does The Virtual Library Deliver?


2 boys with tablet

Powerful People

Customer and staff engagement set the stage for memorable library experiences, attract new customers, drive and reward use, and ultimately empower stakeholders to achieve individual and collective goals.

senior computer training

Powerful Programs

The community is enriched by programs that contribute to lifelong learning such as arts and culture, education, health, and job and business support that are made available in a variety of media and formats.


Powerful Partners

Building resources and relationships with private and public partners enables Queens Library to expand programs and services that support our customers in pursuing life, learning, and career aspirations.

Queens Library

Powerful Places

Welcoming, accessible outlets and responsive service delivery attract new customers, facilitate new uses, and reinforce Queens Library's role as neighborhood anchor.

Making An impact For Our Patrons With Technology.


Queens Library provides a wide selection of titles across several popular media types. Whether it's eBooks, digital audiobooks, eMagazines, music (streaming or downloads), streaming web-based books, or articles and databases — Queens Library has it covered.

We have a history of long-standing relationships with best-of-breed vendors and leaders among content aggregators that service libraries. These relationships allow us to offer a rich variety of materials to explore. Our vendor partners are enthusiastic co-developers and collaborators on our technology roadmap.

What does this mean to our patrons?
Our patrons now benefit from a better user experience in the Queens Library app and in stand-alone vendor apps. In addition, all parties have gained insight into how we can accelerate bringing about tools that modernize today's library systems.

Through our innovative platform, patrons can access popular titles, and search books in English or other languages with relative ease. Long gone are the obstacles of multiple logins across multiple tools and hard-to-use interfaces. Queens Virtual Library brings about the dream a unified discovery layer without locking library systems into rigid silos and information bubbles.

Devices (e.g. Phones/Tablets)

Early in the conceptualization of Queens Virtual Library, our team identified some core tenets of this initiative, one of which is to have the components of Queens Virtual Library completely "technology agnostic." In addition, by developing flexible solutions using a mixture of open source projects, Queens Library propriety knowledge, and products available from library industry partners, Queens Library can garner the best solution for our patrons faster.

What does this mean to our patrons?
In our solutions, we stress a balance of current capability and smart, forward thinking. That is why our mobile solutions pay equal attention to Android and iOS users, and have not ruled out other mobile platforms. In addition, we are actively developing tools that benefit our staff as well as our patrons. A great example of this is our self-service checkout machines with a Queens Library customized interface and interactive software.

Kiosks and Custom Applications

As noted above, Queens Library is not satisfied with improving our web and mobile experiences. We are actively engaged in development of custom self-serve kiosk machines as well as other technologies that can be used within our facilities, for the benefit of public and staff. We recognize that not every patron can afford a computer or a laptop, or have access to a mobile smart phone, so we need to have other touchpoints available to that population.

In addition, as we explore cool functions like self-publishing and public contributions to Queens Library Archives, we have a great need for customized and specialized tools that address DRM and other concerns. There is also the practical application of diversifying the language tools available to work with, opening up a world of opportunity to the most diverse region in the Tri-state area.

What does this mean to our patrons?
The future is exciting for Queens Library and its patrons. Our teams are hard at work bringing easy-to-use tools to a wider audience than ever.

Content Management

We understand that our patrons are primarily focused on the core functions of the library: searching our catalog or programming, renewing materials, finding out availability of materials, and learning about our community libraries and their neighborhoods. But we are going to push the envelope with more customized and intuitive services that will help patrons search and explore to discover themselves.

What does this mean to our patrons?
Queens Library is working on a smarter system of publishing relevant information that patrons may want to see searching or browsing. This includes "suggested" content, search results groupings, and other features patrons have come to expect from popular commercial sites.

Mobile Device Management

Our project teams are using world-class enterprise software that allows us to provide, manage, and distribute 5,000 mobile tablets without much grief. Our software supports issuing security profiles, provisioning devices, administrating our private app store, generating activity and usage reports, and maintaining a mobile management system like a well-oiled machine.

What does this mean to our patrons?
Our patrons can borrow our tablets without repeated trips to their local branch for tablet-related issues. Although there are no guarantees, the library is generally protected from loss and theft by the mobile device software. Patrons generally use the devices as intended, and the MDM software helps ensure that borrowing the device is not an ordeal.

Unified Library Interface

Queens Library is working hard at unifying search and discovery into one library interface. We have prototypes for aspects of this goal, but aim for more ease of use and better performance. We will not rest until we can truly say we have broken down all walls of information silos, removed all manner of unnecessary logins, and eliminated all obstacles to access that exist for many of our patron demographics.

What does this mean to our patrons?
Users are able to search and browse relevant items in either our physical or digital collections. This includes all material types including eBooks, Audiobooks, print, CDs, DVDs, Articles & Databases. This open the door to feature advances such as suggestion algorithms and “more like this”-type features that aid organic search and discovery.