The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is looking at ways to strengthen its online services creating a new branch library for users that access digitally.
The library already offers a number of web-based services. For example, students can get help with their homework with an online tutoring service. And the library connects with several services that offer e-book and music downloads.
But the idea behind the so-called Digital Branch would be to better organize and expand those offerings, so users can get many of the same services found in brick-and-mortar branches, said David Singleton, director of libraries.
That could mean offering a story time program in which a child can hear a recording of a book or story as they sit by a computer. Or having more staff available to offer support with research.
The digital project was discussed with library trustees on Thursday as part of a presentation on the systems work plan for 2013.
Officials plan to spend much of the year creating and launching the effort, including considering ideas from other systems across the country, said library CEO Lee Keesler. As part of that research, three officials are going to Boston next week to learn about that systems online offerings.
Initial start-up costs for the Digital Branch could cost $1.5 million, and there would be ongoing expenses in future years, Keesler said. How to pay for it is not finalized, though it could include a mix of private and public money.
In other business on Thursday, trustees:
• Received an update on the librarys three-year strategic plan. A series of public meetings will kick off Jan. 31 at the Beatties Ford Library to get feedback on early ideas. View the full schedule of public meetings at: http://bit.ly/VabuMN
• Learned the library has raised 93 percent toward a $500,000 fundraising goal. Officials hope to raise the rest of the money by June 30. The system also is continuing work on launching the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation.
• Recognized librarian Beatriz Adriana Guevara as one of 12 national recipients of the 2012 I Love My Librarian award.
Bethea: 704-358-6013 On Twitter: @AprilBethea
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