New branding, revamped website among big changes coming to London Public Library

Library patrons will soon be able to choose between five different library card designs as part of the rebranding. The new cards are set to be distributed to library branches this week. London Public Library/Handout

London Public Library patrons will start to see some big changes rollout over the next several weeks, library officials say.

The changes, which will include a new catalogue system, design language, logo and website, come as part of a major rebranding effort by the library, the first it’s undertaken in more than a decade.

The library’s current light blue logo, created in partnership with Velocity Studio and Assoc., has been in use since September 2007, and is being replaced by a bold blue and yellow “LPL” logo from Bruce Mau Design that will read better online and on signage, said Ellen Hobin, the library’s manager of communications.

“We have new colours, and probably, for my department, the fun part of our new logo is it also comes with these illustrations or little characters that we’re using when we’re marketing the library,” Hobin said.

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“You’ll see the two L’s for the LPL logo kind of walking around with different shapes on top that represent the people who use the library, or the different things that the library can inspire in people…. The little bit that we’ve been using them, we’re already starting to see people recognizing them.”

The London Public Library’s current logo by Velocity Studio and Associates, which has been in use since September 2007. London Public Library
The London Public Library’s new logo blue and yellow ‘LPL’ logo by Toronto-based Bruce Mau Design. London Public Library/Handout

Library cards will also get a facelift as part of the rebranding, with patrons able to choose between five different designs. The new cards are being sent to branches this week.

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The library soft-launched the new design over the summer on some of its vehicles, library posters and social media. Its formal rollout, however, will come when the library’s new catalogue and website go live, something Hobin says is expected by February at the latest.

It’ll mark the library’s first major website revamp in more than a decade.

“It’s (been) a long, long time, and if you’ve been on our website, that’s pretty obvious,” Hobin said.

“Like most organizations, it’s having the time and resources to be able to do that. I think COVID gave us a little opportunity in freeing up some time to work on some of those projects that had been put off, so this one got prioritized finally, which is going to make a huge difference for everyone.”

The new design and logo was soft-launched over the summer on some library vehicles and on its social media pages. London Public Library/Handout

Hobin says the new website will use an updated content management system, be easier for library staff to update and come with improved accessibility for users.

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OPIN Digital was tasked with building the new website, while Innovative Interfaces has been tapped to update the new catalogue, and EventPro the upgraded event registration system. Hobin says library staff have also been contributing a significant amount of work.

“Those three pieces, which we call the website, are really three separate platforms, and they’ll all be updated and improved because current versions of those are very outdated and make it very hard to use all the great free resources that are available to people if they could find and use them,” she said.

The overall cost of the long-awaited redesign and system overhaul is roughly $250,000, paid with discretionary donor funds.

Library staff have been testing out the new catalogue and website internally to get used to it, and to become comfortable providing support to patrons. Some of the biggest user improvements will be seen in the library’s upgraded catalogue, Hobin said.

“There will be an update to what we call the ‘catalogue discovery layer,’ so the way that it looks and functions, and a new way to find and register for library programs,” she said.

“The different formats of an item are all displayed together … the hard copy book, the e-book, if there is an audiobook version or a large print version … so you can see them without searching for those things. If you didn’t realize that those were even options, you’ll be made aware of them within the catalogue.

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The website, the catalogue and event registration are keeping up with the standards people are used to with the other things that they use in their life to find things or buy things. It’s just making it more modern, so people that learn how to use one platform will find it easy to use the library’s platforms.”

The London Public Library’s new design “characters.” London Public Library/Handout

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