Earlier in 2020, we let you know that it was possible for your library to show up in Google’s knowledge panel in the United States. As we reach the end of 2020, we’re pleased to announce that Google is expanding their borrowing actions to even more of their services. All you need to make it happen is Linked Library Service.

Google’s borrow actions connect users directly to your library catalog, making sure that patrons (and potential patrons!) see your library as an option for the books they want to read. We’re all used to seeing retail sources like Amazon and Barnes and Noble in results, but this new functionality ensures that libraries are now also displayed as options. It’s super simple — clicking the 'borrow' link takes people right into your library catalog.

Here are the places where Google uses borrowing information from Linked Library Service to send users to your library’s catalog:

  1. Borrow actions in the knowledge panel
    Search regular Google for a specific title and then take a look at the knowledge panel that appears on the right. You’ll see a list of places to buy or borrow the title.
  2. Borrow actions in Google Books
    Find a book in books.google.com and click on “Get the book”. You’ll see a list of places to buy or borrow the title.
  3. Borrow actions in What to Read
    Search regular Google for “books about ___” [fill in your favorite topic] and scroll down to see lists of books that fit the bill. Google creates these lists based on their extensive data about what users search for. Click one of the books to see a list of places to borrow or buy the title. Note: This is a new service and currently only available via mobile access. The desktop version is coming soon.

So far in 2020, we’ve seen more than 1.1 million clicks on Google borrow links which translates into 1.1 million virtual visits to libraries, driven from Google searches. 
The behind-the-scenes secret powering this traffic is Linked Library Service, working to connect library data to the wider world. When you subscribe to Linked Library Service your library automatically joins thousands of others in a network of linked data which is then available to companies like Google and others. All of it linking back to your library and driving usage.  

Want to get your library linked to Google’s borrow actions?

Learn more about Linked Library Service and Linked Library Enrichment.

Danielle Borasky is the Vice President of NoveList. She is currently reading Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas.