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David Lee King

Q&A From My SirsiDynix Webcast



The SirsiDynix Institute presentation I gave with Thad Hartman on August 14 went well! Here’s a link to the presentation (audio and screencast/video). As usual with these webcasts, there wasn’t enough time to get to all the questions at the end, but Sirsi/Dynix sent me the questions that were asked… and here they are, with answers:

Question: Do you have use statistics to share with us for your online / digital initiatives? e.g. How much use or users?

Answer: Not yet – our new site isn’t up yet! On our current website, we have approximately 30,000 visits per month. We get an additional 30,000 visits on our various public blogs.

Question: How can a reluctant director be convinced to offer computer classes in the library? He feels that other than catalog instruction, computer classes are not the purpose of the library.

Answer: Placing gobs of patron requests for computer classes in front of manager’s and director’s and board member’s faces is one way to do it. Admin likes numbers.

Question: What sort of staff involvement is required to maintain physical and digital displays, blogs, etc.

And

Question: How much staff time is spent on the digital side of this project?

Answer: On the digital side – we have a number of staff working on our digital branch. We have:

  • Two full-time web workers, one focused on design and maintenance, and one focused on programming
  • We have a “Creative Group” made up of the two web workers and our two graphic designers. They focus on design and access issues
  • We have a Digital Branch Taskforce make up of about 10 staff who are making decisions on the redesign
  • And… we have all of our library staff, who will potentially be content developers (some already are).

Question: David, if you remember can you post the public library with the community wiki, so we can have a look please?

Answer: It’s the SCRLD Wiki Project, at http://www.scrldwiki.org/index.php/Main_Page – created by the Stevens County Rural Library District. Here’s what they say about the project: “The wiki project is dedicated to creating an online wiki guide to Stevens County, Washington, USA. We hope that all of you who know and love the area will contribute your knowledge to the wiki and all our visitors may learn more about Stevens County. If you like this site, please tell your friends! The more people who get involved, the better this guide will be.”

Question: Some communities, probably mostly in schools, are reluctant to embrace 2.0 technologies. How does a librarian change those attitudes?

Answer: Ultimately, you might not be able to change the school’s attitudes. You can certainly meet with school officials and show them “the rest of the story.” For example… if you block MySpace, and the local public library has a MySpace presence, the school is ultimately blocking the library (and that’s certainly NOT their intent). So education is one good way to tackle it.

Also simply providing access to 2.0 technologies yourself is a great way to tackle it – kids can’t get to 2.0 sites at school, but they can learn about them and use them at the library. You could even partner with teachers to do this – for example, my library has partnered with a local high school on Second Life projects – they supply the kids, we supply the PCs and the SL island.

Question: I have seen a lot of interesting ideas on the digital branch. How do you check if your clients use these new ideas? And how do you know they like it?

Answer: We ask and we observe. Asking = focus groups (which we are holding in September). Observing = watching what patrons use on your library’s public computers. At my library, we see patrons using FaceBook MySpace, gaming sites, YouTube, Meebo (a web-based instant messaging service), etc… so we know they are familiar with 2.0 tools.

Question: I browsed the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library website during your presentation, and I noticed that one way you connect to your users is by encouraging them to complete a reading interest survey and then providing them with a customized, personalized reading list. Has this been well-received by your users?

Answer: Yes! It’s a great service, and the patrons that are using it really like it. And like most libraries, I don’t think we have heavily marketed that service… but then, we are in the midst of writing a new marketing plan, too – so this will hopefully change.

Question: How often do you have to scrub comments – moderate?

Answer: We currently moderate all comments – I’m not certain how often we have to edit them (I don’t think we generally have to edit).

Question: How much have you used social networking sites, such as Facebook, to promote library services and to achieve the goals of your library? Please give examples, if any.

Answer: We currently use MySpace (here, here, here, and here), YouTube, and Flickr. One big goal of our library is to create a Digital Branch, and we are using these tools to help us do that.

And… don’t forget that this presentation was the first in a two-part series! Next up on September 18: Dump the Org. Chart: Get `Er Done!: Management for a 2.0 Library by Gina Millsap and Rob Banks.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://lissareads.blogspot.com/ Lissa

    Regarding the Topeka Library’s personalized reading list service — we adapted the idea from a PLA presentation in 2006 from the Williamsburg Regional Library http://www.wrl.org/ — and it has indeed been popular. We have paper forms available in the library, but the majority of our users request a list from our web form, mainly from an occasional banner ad in the center of our webpage that clicks through to the form. In fact, when we are overwhelmed by requests for personalized lists (sometimes we receive more than 10 a day) we simply take down the banner ad from the site until we are caught up. (The link is always available on the left-side menus under Readers Corner/Papercuts.) THe flexibility in online marketing allows us to control somewhat the influx in new requests. Even though we already provided LOTS of book reviews, book lists, a literary blog, links to book sites, Novelist subscription, etc. for our users on our website, by offering this personalized service that gives a human interaction (albeit one without actual face-to-face communication) we are connecting with our readers in a new way. It’s not faster for them (our turnaround is 2-3 weeks), it’s not easier for us (we create new lists for each user instead of handing them a boilerplate bookmark), it’s not less work (this is a time consuming project for several staff members). But the users are demonstrating (through their multitude of requests) that it’s something they want us to continue to provide. And they e-mail us that they loved getting a list tailored to their taste. I’m not sure if this whole concept is in the spirit of Library 2.0 or not – the lists are privately returned, the users aren’t adding anything to the site, their information is used only for their own list. It was simply a convenient time technologically for us to offer this service online as well as in print. Hope that helps — for more info, just contact us using the Personalized Reading List form on the library’s website!

  • http://lissareads.blogspot.com Lissa

    Regarding the Topeka Library’s personalized reading list service — we adapted the idea from a PLA presentation in 2006 from the Williamsburg Regional Library http://www.wrl.org/ — and it has indeed been popular. We have paper forms available in the library, but the majority of our users request a list from our web form, mainly from an occasional banner ad in the center of our webpage that clicks through to the form. In fact, when we are overwhelmed by requests for personalized lists (sometimes we receive more than 10 a day) we simply take down the banner ad from the site until we are caught up. (The link is always available on the left-side menus under Readers Corner/Papercuts.) THe flexibility in online marketing allows us to control somewhat the influx in new requests. Even though we already provided LOTS of book reviews, book lists, a literary blog, links to book sites, Novelist subscription, etc. for our users on our website, by offering this personalized service that gives a human interaction (albeit one without actual face-to-face communication) we are connecting with our readers in a new way. It’s not faster for them (our turnaround is 2-3 weeks), it’s not easier for us (we create new lists for each user instead of handing them a boilerplate bookmark), it’s not less work (this is a time consuming project for several staff members). But the users are demonstrating (through their multitude of requests) that it’s something they want us to continue to provide. And they e-mail us that they loved getting a list tailored to their taste. I’m not sure if this whole concept is in the spirit of Library 2.0 or not – the lists are privately returned, the users aren’t adding anything to the site, their information is used only for their own list. It was simply a convenient time technologically for us to offer this service online as well as in print. Hope that helps — for more info, just contact us using the Personalized Reading List form on the library’s website!