August 12, 2015 at 12:47 pm #966
Service Review of Warringah Council Library Website and Catalogue http://www.warringah.nsw.gov.au/library
I chose to review the website/catalogue of the Warringah Council Library. According to the website, it is a relatively small library service, with four branches, plus one community branch. I currently work in a public library and was curious to explore another libraries web presence. I approached this site with patrons in mind who read for leisure. My impressions of their online service as a whole was very positive.
My first impressions of the front page of the website – Very simple, nice design and layout. A straightforward and user friendly interface with plenty of pictures, and easy to navigate.
The front page features a catalogue search bar (with a link to advanced searches) and tabs with sub menus where patrons could navigate to a range of information about services, products and programmes offered by the library. The front page also had a Latest News section alerting patrons to changes in the library, upcoming events and various products (such as online newspapers and encyclopaedias.). There were links to further information about coming events and news.
Compared with other library catalogues I have encountered the website felt very well designed and is visually attractive.
Upon conducting some basic catalogue searches I found it very straight forward to use and it returned results I was looking for. It lists e-books along with physical books which I think is a helpful way to promote both types of collection.
I tested their Ask a librarian service with the following query – “Hello, I was wondering if you could help direct me to a book about copyright laws in Australia. Mostly in regards to music”. [Submitted at 10:50am Wednesday 12/8. Still awaiting reply as of 12:42pm]
My favourite parts of the site was the ‘Your Librarian’ page, which featured short bio’s of the librarians working for Warringah Council (why they love to read, etc.), accompanied with a picture, and links to their own reading recommendations arranged into personalised sections (for example one person had “Books with a twist”, “Books that start with a bang!” and “epic reads”). Each book review was concise (one paragraph max.) and was accompanied by an image of the cover which doubled as a hyperlink to the catalogue listing of the book. Very handy! All in all a nice page with plenty of information, worthwhile recommendations, and a friendly online presence for the staff to exhibit their personalities and communicate with the user through the website. Some soft Readers Advisory you might say. I felt it was an improvement on some of the more impersonal “what to read next” sections other libraries have and was more interesting than simply throwing up lists of NY times best sellers and award winning books.
Then I found their online form for tailor made reading suggestions.
Now THAT is some good online readers advisory! Basically it asks for you to list some of your favourite authors and genres, some authors you don’t like, and the type of thing you’d like to read in the future. Within 7 days (the automatic reply email told me), A librarian would take this information and make a list of suggestions tailored to your needs. I have submitted my form and am awaiting their reply with interest.
All in all an impressive service with some great features.
- This topic was modified 5 years, 2 months ago by Luke Mysliwy.
August 12, 2015 at 12:49 pm #967
Update on my Ask A Librarian query! I checked my email and noticed a reply from a Warringah librarian sent approximately 2.5 hours after my enquiry.
reply was as follows –
In response to your enquiry re copyright and in particular music the most comprehensive and current resource is the Australian Copyright Council. Under find an answer, browse A-Z and under M for music there are several fact sheets regarding various music topics.
I am not aware of a print resource that is comparable to this online content.
I hope this information has been of assistance.
August 13, 2015 at 9:02 pm #987Shannon FranzwayParticipant
I like the sound of the “Your Librarian” page with the reading recommendations – the librarian pics and bios makes the virtual experience a little more human! The reading recommendations is definitely a nod to the retail book store experience where the staff write a single paragraph review (often handwritten) on card and they’re displayed on the shelves. I think there’s probably lots of ideas that can be taken from retail experiences and translated into better library experiences – people seem to shop a lot, maybe they’ll visit the library more!!
August 14, 2015 at 1:31 pm #993
For sure Shannon, I think perhaps we get a tad complacent in a library since we don’t have to actually sell books. But our funding depends on use and people coming in and out, so the books do have to move!
Oh, another update! I got an email back with my ‘tailor made reading lists’. Based on my interests and info provided the librarian had suggested 2 books I have already read (so… spot on?) plus 3 more that sound quite interesting and which I probably would never read unless recommended to. Now perhaps I will.
August 20, 2015 at 9:33 am #1154Stacey LarnerModerator
Great review Luke, and it sounds like this library is very user-centred. Tempted to try out their tailor-made reading list too!
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