What’s the Most Visited Part of your Library?

Do you adequately staff the busiest parts of your library? For example, if you have a busy reference desk, you probably make sure there are staff to meet demand.

If your circulation desk gets busy in the afternoons, you probably put another person there to help.

But what if your digital branch is the busiest part of your library? What then?

Here’s what I mean. Take a peek at some annual stats from my library:

  • Door count: 797,478 people
  • Meeting room use: 137,882 people
  • Library program attendance: 76,043 attendees
  • Art Gallery visitors: 25,231 visitors
  • Reference questions: 271,315 questions asked

How about website visits? We had 1,113,146 total visits to the website in 2014. The only larger number is is our circulation count (2,300,865 items).

The busiest part of my library is our digital branch – our website. More visits than meeting room attendance. More visits than library classes and events. More visits than our art gallery.

More visits than our physical building.

I’ll guess your library is similar. So how do we staff for this? I know, I know. Website visits are different than a person visiting the building. Building visitors will most likely stay longer, will need furniture to use, will step on carpet that needs cleaning, and will use computers that need to be maintained. While a digital branch visit might only last for two minutes.

Still … do you see a potential disparity here?

So I’ll ask my question again: Do you adequately staff the busiest parts of your library?

Image by Mervyn Chua

Your Digital Branch has Unique Content

Did you know that Emerald Group Publishing has a Special Features part of their website? They have some really useful articles there … one of them being an article from me!

I just posted this – Your Digital Branch has Unique Content. What do I talk about? What the title says – the fact that your library’s website – your digital branch – has some very unique content. Think ebooks, or the full catalog vs browsing the shelves for stuff not checked out.

And some other ideas too. Go read it!

Make your Website UX ROCK

I recently spoke at the New England Library Association’s ITS Spring Event in Portsmouth, NH. Fun day, cool people!

I spoke about library website UX, and provided some tips on making library websites easier to use. They made a video of my talk – here it is!

Here’s another talk from that day. This panel includes two case studies of library website redesign projects, from Andrea Bunker and Sarah Leonardi. They have different perspectives – so watch this one too!

Enjoy!

Presentations at Computers in Libraries 2015

I just got back from a full week of learning and sharing at Computers in Libraries. Great conference, as usual!

Here are links to the presentations I gave:

Enjoy!

Mobile-only Use Overtakes Desktop-only Use

I’m still at Computers in Libraries 2015 – great conference as usual!

I also just saw this from Gary Price on InfoDocket, and thought it was worth sharing.

In the US, the number of mobile-only internet users now exceeds the number of desktop-only internet users.

Here’s what ComScore says about this: “While the share of mobile-only users has climbed over the past year to 11.3 percent, the desktop-only population has drastically declined to just 10.6 percent. Of course these numbers also tell us that the vast majority of the digital population (78 percent) is multi-platform and goes online using both desktop and mobile platforms.”

What’s this mean? More of our us are carrying the internet around in our pockets, bags, and hands. We’re in front of small screens more often than we are in front of a desktop computer, which makes sense.

It also means that we need to make absolutely certain that our library and organization websites work on mobile devices. Having a great mobile-friendly website is more important than having it work fine on a desktop computer. Why? Because our customers are in front of the small screen more often, and have access to a small screen more often, than desktop or laptop computers.

For many things, it’s simply more convenient to pick up a smartphone to quickly check something. Not always the most optimal – but it is generally more convenient.

So – how’s your website’s mobile experience? Not too hot? If not, then … it’s time to start working on it!

Photo of my iPhone taken by me