Archive for May, 2007

Post Number One: Library 2.0 @ NPL

May 20, 2007

When I began my employment at the Naperville Public Library three years ago ‘Library 2.0’ was already a hot topic of discussion.  One of the supervising librarians whom I befriended and who seemed to me a particularly acute observer of the library landscape (or e-scape) was assigning Library 2.0 readings to the adult services staff as required reading.  Since then, it seems to me that my library is moving toward embracing the concepts involved in the ‘2.0’ model of operation.  So lets take a look at my library`s website, and see where we are now.

The NPL website: does contain several elements associated with the ‘Library 2.0’ mode of operation.  There are ‘e-services’ throughout the site, such as e-mail reference service under: “Questions? Just Ask”(available to NPL patrons in three flavors: direct e-mail with reference staff, a link to an on-line tutoring service for students and a link to “Ask Away,” the recently formed network of reference service organized by the Illinois State Library).  You will also find elements of on-line service that are available on other public library sites:  an on-line catalog, a selection of e-books that can be downloaded from the NPL website to patron computers, several links providing information about services and means to order them, and a selection of databases (more than most libraries provide)accessable to patrons from their own computers.

A new service (and you know its just been rolled out because there`s a bright yellow new sign next to it) on the NPL site is RSS linking.  Each patron can create their own RSS account within the NPL site to automaticly provide the patron with updated information about services the can choose (such as new books, selected databases and library events).  The RSS page provides instructions for linkage to web browsers such as Firefox and Internet Explorer and to personal webpages such as those available from AOL or Yahoo.  There is also a suggestion box for patrons who may want a particular service update that the NPL administrators havn`t thought of yet.  This last feature seems to me the one most in keeping with the ‘Library 2.0’ model.

I know that digital video downloads are in the pipeline at NPL.  They will be available to staff in the near future as an experiment for our IT department.  As soon as the IT department feels comfortable that this system is working properly, DV downloads will then be offered to NPL patrons.

One thing that is so far missing from the ‘Library 2.0’ package at the Naperville Public Library is text messaging.  It doesn`t have a presence yet on the site (though I`m not sure how that would work) or in practice within the library buildings, that I have been able to observe.  This is a question that may be on the table for NPL administration, as many of its youngest patrons are frequent TM users and might profit from the availability of this service. 

I have also heard some patrons express some quibbles about the design of the website.  Some folks think the overall design is a bit clunky.  They wish for tabs instead of word linkage or pictorial linkage.  As for me, I have seen cleaner designs, I suppose, but I have also seen much worse.

Summing up, the ‘Library 2.0’ model seems to be infuencing my library in a positive way.  One thing my library has done for many years now is to constantly survey their card-holding patron base.  They are always open to suggestions and looking for ways to get patron input.  If you look at the middle of the website, you will see a link to a customized vacation library materials package that the library offers for families going on vacation.  This is just the sort of service that a library that is patron-driven should provide.  So, as far as the ‘Library 2.0’ model is concerned, NPL seems to be moving in the right direction.

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May 13, 2007

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May 13, 2007

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