Beth Jefferson is CEO and co-founder of BiblioCommons, a Toronto-based venture that provides web services which replace all of the user-facing functionality of the library's traditional online public access catalog. BiblioCommons services transform these catalogs from "Web 1.0" inventory tools to interactive discovery spaces online -- allowing patrons to comment, discuss, curate and share. Most importantly, the BiblioCommons platform aggregates and shares all contributions across participating library systems, enabling libraries to achieve a critical mass of activity and content otherwise not possible for any single system.
Currently BiblioCommons is live with leading libraries across the Canada, Australia and New Zealand and the United States -- including New York, Brooklyn, Seattle, Boston, and Chicago. Last year, in partnership with the three library systems of New York City, BiblioCommons also launched BiblioSchools to connect the resources of the public library systems to the school libraries and classrooms of New York City's Department of Education.
BiblioCommons is unique among library service vendors for its ownership structure, with the New York Public Library and an Innovation Trust of the Ontario Library Association together owning over 25% of the company.
BiblioCommons emerged from Beth's founding of The PerF!nk Project (Perceive. Feel. Think.), a non-profit youth literacy initiative which sought to increase the motivation to read for pleasure by leveraging emerging web technologies to establish a social context for the otherwise often isolating activity of reading. The perF!nk Project received the Information Technology Association of Canada's highest award for non profit technology innovation in 2004 and then began to work with public libraries.
Prior to the perF!nk Project, Beth co-founded another web services company – which connected the alumni organization of leading North American universities. Beth's expertise in connecting the data and communities of disparate organizations initially grew out of her experience heading up the Analytics and Informations Services teams at the Loyalty Group, one of the largest provider of multi-retailer loyalty programs in North America. Before joining the executive team at the Loyalty Group, Beth had worked for Monitor Company, a global strategy consulting firm based in Boston, and with Young & Rubicam in New York and Toronto.
Beth holds a B.A. in Japanese and International Relations from the University of Toronto, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. While at Harvard, Beth was cross-enrolled at Harvard's Graduate School of Education and was awarded a Social Enterprise Fellowship to pursue work with a non profit educational software development agency.
Co-founder and CEO