Press Release: LYRASIS Announces James English as Product Development Strategist for Library Simplified/SimplyE

ATLANTA, GA – August 28, 2018 – LYRASIS, one of the nation’s largest non-profit technology and services organizations serving archives, libraries and museums, is pleased to announce that James English will be joining LYRASIS as the Product Development Strategist for Library Simplified/SimplyE, signalling the organization’s ongoing commitment to supporting public libraries and creating a strong open source community. Library Simplified is an open source eReading platform initially developed by The New York Public Library with funding from the the Institute of Museum and Library Services to help libraries manage eBook collections, boost circulation and improve access to books to encourage reading and literacy. SimplyE is the mobile application that gives users one-click access to their library’s eBook catalog with just a library card through the Library Simplified middleware platform, simplifying a user’s ability to securely and privately connect with their library.

In the next year, by leveraging James’ expertise with both the software platform and the public library space and following their It Takes A Village community sustainability model, LYRASIS plans to further develop and support the current public library-focused, open source community built around Library Simplified. The platform and application were designed by experts from the library community to meet the needs of libraries by aggregating eBook content, allowing for an intermediated patron experience; pro-active curation of eBooks to boost circulation; supporting community literacy goals by delivering a wealth of books and learning materials in a user friendly manner; and providing robust multi-library discovery and reading capabilities.

LYRASIS initially became engaged in the Library Simplified project through a partnership with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), announced in November 2017, to offer cloud-based hosting of Library Simplified to public libraries across the country. This grew out of LYRASIS’s long-standing efforts to provide public libraries with innovative tools to serve their local communities with ease and to strengthen and support vibrant open source programs that are built by the community, are fairly priced and are sustainable into the future. LYRASIS is a leader in open source program hosting and has the capacity and technological expertise to provide multi-tenant hosting, version and maintenance as well as ongoing technical support. LYRASIS is proud to serve as the Organizational Home for two community supported open source tools, ArchivesSpace and CollectionSpace. In addition, they also provide hosting for both applications as well as for the Islandora open source framework and are active within each open source community, through code contributions, governance and more.

As Product Development Strategist for Library Simplified/SimplyE, James will be working to build the public library open source community mentioned above, develop and follow a technical roadmap for deploying the hosted solution through LYRASIS while maximizing benefit for public library partners, as well as identify new opportunities to serve public libraries across the United States. This is a new position at LYRASIS and is effective immediately.

English comes to LYRASIS from The New York Public Library, where he helped develop the Library Simplified solution as the Sr. Product Manager for National Platforms. Prior to that, he served as Chief Product & Executive Officer of Telemetry Labs and as Chief Product & Operations Officer for Guardian Networks, both web and mobile product development service providers specializing in machine-2-machine technology.

Robert Miller, CEO of LYRASIS, said, “Adding James English to our world-class team to manage Library Simplified/SimplyE offerings is a huge win for both LYRASIS and our members. As one of the project developers, James has a wealth of experience that will give our members a strategic advantage and added expertise when partnering with LYRASIS to deploy Library Simplified/SimplyE. This new position is an extension of our commitment to and investment in Library Simplified/SimplyE and in the wider community of public libraries. Further, it is a reflection of the LYRASIS mission to serve our members by building community and solving the problems of today with the solutions of tomorrow.”

“I’m excited to join the LYRASIS team and build a formal open source community around the Library Simplified/SimplyE platform, helping to strengthen the software, increase adoption rates and support the program’s sustainability,” says English of his new position. “Leveraging the scope and reach of the LYRASIS organization, I think we are uniquely positioned to create a thriving open source community, allowing public libraries across the country (and beyond) to actively collaborate and build a software tool that both serves their local patrons at the highest possible level and raises the profile of public libraries as leaders in the delivery of knowledge, information and cultural literacy nationwide.”

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