Las Vegas, NV, June 20, 2011 – ChiliFresh, a global provider of patron book reviews and book cover art, announced today that the company will launch a new social networking platform, Connections, at ALA Annual.
"When it comes to discussions and recommendations around books and literary genres, we believe that libraries should serve as the hub for social networking," said ChiliFresh President & CEO Scott Johnson. "Connections brings people together from around the world to form friendships and virtual book clubs within the library catalog."
Connections, which is currently live in 20 library networks throughout North America, integrates social networking with the library PAC and facilitates discussions among people worldwide based on literary interest and habits. The software integrates closely with other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and enables users to create and share digital personalized bookshelves, form literary communities and book clubs, and participate in group or one-on-one chats.
Johnson points out that Connections differs from other patron review and social networking products in that the discussions stay within the library catalog. "By drawing people into the library catalog to form communities, the library remains the ‘go to' place for books and book conversations," said Johnson. "What's more, libraries will have real insights into what patrons are interested in, making collection development easier and more accurate."
Salt Lake County Library Services served as one of the core beta test sites for Connections. "We are incredibly excited to offer ChiliFresh to our patrons," said Colleen Medling, Automated Systems Manager at Salt Lake County Library Services. "We believe this will attract an entire group of readers who aren't inclined to use other social networking platforms but who use our library catalog. And we can introduce them to an international community of people with shared interests and reading preferences.
Also, the product itself is highly configurable. We have the option to integrate with Facebook and can put limits around the chat functionality. What's more, we can prevent individuals who are under 18 from chatting with adults, providing young users with a layer of protection."
In addition to Connections, libraries can subscribe to ChiliFresh's Review Engine, a global database of patron reviews. By subscribing to both products, libraries can deliver a complete suite of social networking tools to their communities. Cover art images are also included at no additional cost with a library's Connections subscription.
"At a time when budgets are under intense pressure, we're offering PAC enrichment, such as book jack cover artwork, for no additional cost," said Johnson. "Connections brings the library catalog into the online community, making it a vibrant, living space for community interaction."
Connections will launch an "ALA Special" at the annual conference in New Orleans (June 23 -28), offering six months free with the library's first year subscription.
ChiliFresh launched its initial social networking product, ChiliFresh Review Engine, in early 2008. The ChiliFresh Review Engine was the first real Web 2.0 platform developed for a library's online catalog. ChiliFresh now supports libraries around the globe with book cover art, patron book reviews, and social networking products. For more information about ChiliFresh, visit http://www.chilifresh.com.