Category Archives: Library Web Sites

Ten, no, Eleven Reasons for Vidcasting in the Library

What a Library Tour Video Might Look like on iPod

I love the ideas about applications of video in library settings. One of these days we’ll see an official “video podcast” from a library show up in the next incarantion of the iTunes MEDIA Store.

David King has a great post about integrating video into Library Web sites. He lists ten things librarians might do with video, including:

Videocast of bibliographic instruction, downloadable when a student needs it
Tours of the library
Showing what a meeting room looks like

Wonderful ideas that make use of the medium. The BI videos could be very helpful for “training on demand.” At SJCPL, we purchased acces to Mac OS Training videos at and it’s been helpful. I’d love to see libraries produce some stuff in house or a group of libraries band together to share resources and design training for staff.

This morning, Greg Schwartz shares his #11 over at Open Stacks: Meet the Staff Videos Cool idea. When I was investigating UNT, I went through all of the meet the faculty videos to get a sense of what the professors were like. This idea translates well to medium or large library settings where new hires might not meet administrators right away.

For all of these eleven hot ideas I’d hope I could also download them to my iPod!

5 More Factors for Effective Library Web Sites

See this for the first 5 factors!

Watch Open Source applications closely

I didn’t bring this out as much as I should have in my post at ALA TechSource, but other folks did which I appreciate! I am fascinated by what’s happening with Open Source and, ILS Vendors forgive me, I would be tickled to see a project like Georgia’s Evergreen take off and be implemented in libraries everywhere, supported by a thriving community of OS Librarians. Think about it…pretty hot in my book. See ya Innovative…Hello Evergreen! Want customized RSS or other new features? Hold a hackfest and make it so.

For something like this to happen, we need to get serious with our skills, our communication channels between library systems and a shift to a global collaboration/sharing mindset. This could lead to such initiatives as IM networks between libraries and huge knowledge bases built on wikis. The tools are there. It’s up to us.

Give Reference staff some Web-based tools and let them provide content

Yes, please. Over the last 7 years, I’ve been witness in my library to the flow of web content moving from one department, to systemwide and back again. I like the idea of teams of librarians building pages together, and soliciting feedback from users. These tools are FREE people. Just staff time, and what better way for staff to spend some time than developing user-centered Web pages with any number of OSS tools?

Utilize web stats for leverage to create new user-centered services on the Web

David King never ceases to inspire me with his web savvy. The Librarian in Black rocks my world with each web-centric post as well as all of her content. There was similar point in the previous list. But this is important! What I learned from reading and listening to them is that there is gold in those Web stats: user patterns, top hits, entry, exit and the like. Someone on your staff must be the “master of the Web stats domain,” or you are simply building pages that may never be seen or used.

Embed your Library 2.0 services everywhere

Put your blog feeds and IM status wherever it makes sense. Give users a way to comment back from the pages they hit the most. Think about ways to make the catalog so useful, inviting, and ubiquitous, that your users have search success everytime.

Get IT and Librarians meeting and planning from the get-go

I was discussing this with my colleagues at lunch. The recent posts across the Biblioblogosphere have been intriguing. It prompted skagirlie to post this:

No individual dept is perfect. IT is often harder for librarians to relate to because by nature we’re user focused, and they’re shiny focused. Those of us like me have to be ever concious of our language when speaking with patrons vs. other librarians vs. the IT guys. It’s not easy, but it is well worth the effort. I have made it a point of establishing a working relationship with my reference department and my IT dept. This often leaves me as the go between to communicate how we want to serve our patrons and what IT needs to do to make that happen. Being able to speak geek and librarianese has made things happen faster and in more exciting ways. at

5 Factors for Library Web Site Redesign

5 Factors for Library Web Site Redesign

This week, as part of Chicago Public Library’s Scholars in Residence Program, Stephen, Jenny and I spent time discussing strategies and planning for a public library Web site redeign.

I pointed the group we were with to this press release: that I linked to a few weeks ago concerning what factors large public libraries face in a redesign.

I also presented this brief list:

#1 Your web Site is a Cyber-Branch: Your Web site should be viewed as your location in cyberspace, the ___nth branch if you will. It should be staffed accordingly and not forgotten when major marketing or PR initiatives occur.

Stephen Abram made a point as well: staff it with some techie folk but have a seasoned librarian in charge to insure the site isn’t controlled exclusively by the tech folk.

I also pointed out that your PL Web site cannot be an afterthought. It should convey your mission, goals and objectives for services. It should be localized and useful.

#2 Have a Voice & a Face The library web site cannot be flat and lifeless. Find your voice and use it! It may be via blogs or other tools that make communicating a message oh so easy, but whatever you do, make your Web presence HUMAN.

Podcasts…image feeds…wiki pages can help.

Share stories. Highhlight your staff and their knowledge. Use your librarians as guides, and see # 8 in this recent post:

#3 Don’t ignore the value of conversations: Cluetrain time! Markets…conversations…internally and externally. Participate! Offer a place for these conversations to take place or they will take place without you. In other locations on other servers. They will take place, I promise!

#4 Be Transparent: Whoever had the foresight and wherewithall to develop a site devoted to planning, with a domain I heart, at AADL, rocks! Put your planning out there for your users and your staff. Involve both in the decision making process.

#5 Prioritize your Resources: Mine your Web stats for trends and focus development on pages that get the hits. David King writes about this here. Balance requests for new pages with how useful they may be for your users. It’s ok to say NO to a request for a page that may never be visited.

UPDATE: Public Library Web Designers Look to the Future!

The group assembled for the first presentation of the Public Libraries and Technology Track at Internet Librarian 2005 totally rock. If you are attending the conference, don’t miss this one because hot trends in web design apply to all types of libraries!

In addition, the topic of web redesign is HOT right now. This press release points out some fascinating statistics.

In planning for the presentation, I emailed the panelists a question. Because Michael Casey’s Library Crunch (add him to your aggregator now, I’ll wait) is one of my favorite reads these days, I asked the panelists this question:

What does the Library 2.0 Web site look like?

Glenn Peterson, Hennepin County Public Library

“Hi Michael, (I just heard Stephen Abram talk at our library so I may be WWUI (writing while under the influence):

Next generation library websites will meet users’ increasingly complex information needs by developing tools that allow users to refine their information seeking in ways that produce highly relevant search results. Libraries will develop more sophisticated federated search tools that highlight the resources in their physical and virtual collections. They will develop online pathfinders on high-interest topics (e.g. how do I start a new business?) And they will find ways for librarians to continue to support users in the virtual information-seeking environment.”

David King, Kansas City Public Library, & Dave’s Blog

The next generation public library website should be considered a destination, just like the physical library building is currently a destination. As a destination, the website should:

– provide original content (ebooks, articles, encyclopedia entries, local history content)
– provide support content (database and catalog tipsheets, calendar of events, library news, phone numbers)
– provide community content (community calendar types of things)
– provide staff/customer interaction (comments area, question area, ask a reference area) uisng chat, IM,
email, phone, and mailing address
– provide customer/customer interaction (online blook clubs, customer-based reader’s advisory [ model]
– provide traditional library services like library catalog and databases
– Do all this for specific customer target areas (Seniors, Adults, Kids, Teens, etc)

Sarah Houghton, Marin County Public Library, & Librarian in Black

The next generation small public library website will be moving up to the same level the larger public library websites are at now: blogs, RSS feeds, dynamic reading/watching/listening lists, lots of online forms, with links to some user-friendly and computer-friendly lightweight virtual reference options (like instant messaging).

John Blyberg, Ann Arbor District Library

The others really gave a good summation of the type of content we can expect to be available on library websites. What we provide is really going to depend on where the chips fall after the RIAA and MPAA finish going through their withdrawals and settle on a business model that works for them. Laser-etched plastic is not the future, but audio/visual content is what patron’s demand.

In the meantime, good public library sites are going to be the ones that do two things well. First, they need to generate content that is attributed to the library. Second, they need to pull together existing information in new and interesting ways in a manner that makes the web site itself an extention of the library’s information store. That way, the website is only a component of a library’s offerings.

KCPL Reaches Out

KCPL Reaches Out

David King shared this with me via IM: this is the current front page for Kansas City Public Library. I applaud the folks behind this change! What this means to me is that KCPL is very aware of presenting timely, important information to their community. Not only are they linking to places to donate, but they are promoting library services as well with the “The Library Can Help” link. Just the text of the image implies the library is a clearinghouse for information, referral and support.

KCPL, my hat is off to you!

Transparency, Community and Communication at AADL

(Bold is mine for emphasis!)

Library Circulation Surpasses 3 Million

Last year we announced that items circulated during the 2003-04 year passed the 2 million mark. This year, we circulated just over 3 million items. This new circulation record represents a 33% increase and the highest annual percentage of increase in the Library’s history.

We are also experiencing growth in other key areas. Our buildings were visited 1.3 million times, an 8% increase. Attendance at programs increased 14%, over 51,000, and more individuals used library computers than ever before…223,000 logins represent a 37% increase over last year.

The need to expand our space and adapt to the needs and interests of the community is clear. Let us know what you need from the Library.

This comes from the Director’s blog at Ann Arbor. If you click through a dialogue begins within the comments on the post. It’s telling: a library user can state opinion, ask questions and receive a response from the director.

Shouldn’t all public libraries be sending this message: Let us know what you need from the Library.

Access My Library

Most interesting bit to me:

“Hopefully, more people will become hip to the fact that many library services, not only databases, are accessible without having to go to the library building.” Gary Price

I like this statement for a couple of reasons:

We really need to shift our thinking from our physical libraries. Now before you get irked at me: I’m not saying forget the building, I’m saying balance services between a strong Web presence and a physical space that draws folks in, from Boomers to Gamers and back again.

Second it’s indicative that services are changing and those librarians who are stuck in the mindset that we serve the people who physically come to the library FIRST need to get a grip! For example, I received this email from a librarian struggling with implementing IM:

“At my library, there is the fundamental moral belief that a patron who comes to the library, finds a parking space and stands at the desk deserves more and better service than the lazier one who calls. Forget about the laziest one who contacts you online. There is the concept that they will always put a call on hold to answer the person at the desk, even if they are in the middle of helping the caller. These people (and it is at least 50% of our staff) don’t want to help people online. Period. This is where I’m stuck. Yes, I probably can just drag them through this and make them, but I so want them to see the light, and most importantly, have fun.”

Sakes people! I would be horrified if one of our librarians put a call on hold to jump to an in person question. We take ’em as they come. I offered the following to the above emailer: guide them gently into training and make that training fun with role-palying via IM and question sets, give them some good articles (“Born with the Chip” “IM Me” (sorry shameless plug)) and show them all the libraries doing good things with all kinds of services: IM, jybe, RSS, etc.

Try this on: to see an IMing library in action!