The Evolution of Lending

The shift from physical assets to digital ones is driving many changes in the world, including how public libraries operate. Our innovations help them keep pace.

Changing reading habits

eReaders continue to grow in popularity. Device sales are up 113%, and they gain about 5% of the book market share every year. What’s more, avid eReader users still overwhelmingly want to borrow books, with the demand for downloadable content growing at a rate of 50% every year.

“We listened to the market and saw the need to innovate around both the physical and digital space.”

- Matt Tempelis

3M Cloud Library Global Business Manager

Built in the Cloud

So with patrons wanting access to a large catalogue of material - and lenders needing to avoid getting bogged down by a large, costly and unwieldy infrastructure - we devised a solution: a managed, turnkey cloud library system comprising hardware, digital content and apps for borrowing and reading.

The Cloud Library needed to do 3 things:

  • Have a patron and library benefit
  • Be elegant and easy to use
  • Foster the connection between library and community

A chain reaction of new ideas

We developed direct relationships with major publishers like Random House and HarperCollins, then housed the files on 3M servers for quick and easy library access. The books are lent to patrons via the 3M Cloud Library App, which both syncs and bookmarks, and is compatible with many devices. Patrons can browse the catalogue and check out with their own mobile devices or the library’s kiosks via an intuitive, touch-based interface. And if they don’t have their own, 3M eReaders can also be borrowed.


A history of library innovations

3M has brought advances to libraries for over 40 years. From electromagnetic “Tattle Tape” (used for security purposes) to self-checkout stations, we’ve consistently helped libraries change with the times and serve their communities better.


Driving market-facing Innovation

Sixty library systems are now running the 3M Cloud Library System, delivering a seamless, connected experience, with room for future growth, to readers all over the United States.