C IL2007 – Reinventing the Library in the Internet Era – Rebecca Kahl & Aniel Sud/Clyde Miles

A project from Cuyahoga County Public Library.

Patron needs were changing, the library profession was changing as was library service. Device evolution put pressure on staff who were uncomfortable with the new technologies. Needed to adapt staff, services and website to meet the changing needs of their community.

Wanted more than a site, wanted a portal, a customisable experience that enabled them to access the same services that they would experience in the virtual library. Wanted people to enjoy and dwell in the space, so the experience needed to be multi-faceted. Wanted to be able to draw in new audiences and that would allow them to partner with more community organisations.

They wanted to integrate web content, catalogues, databases, news and events, calendar features, branch info, and web 2.0 tools. Also wanted to know what their users wanted, they were just guessing. Put out an RFP to help them to develop the site and get a CMS in place to manage it all.

The process:

  • discovery – internal constituent focus groups, customer focus groups, competitive research, best practice analysis, recommendations, wire frames
  • strategy – mini portals (subjects, demographics, branches), CMS which now has 200 contributers and includes blogs, RSS and mobile CSS, event functionality, audience segmentation, enhanced search functionality, ended up with an out of the box CMS (Ektron) integrating with their III catalogue, Federated Search (Webfeat), text messaging, email (Exact Target), Online Store (CT Pro), Digital Assets (Fedora), Fundraising (e-commerce)
  • design – focus groups wanted inspired, functional, intuitive, accessible, integrated, efficient, integrated, energetic, supportive, innovative, realistic, scaleable
  • development – created subject and demographic portals, which dynamically pulled in events from the calendar and incorporated blogs and a relevant link collection, have segmented audience email – subject interest and geographic relevant info sent to patrons, sent 90,000 text messages for holds/overdues etc.
  • launch/promotion – through print advertising, radio advertising, newspaper features = results blog readership up 40%, homepage visits up 64%, then named Ektron site of the year.
  • evolution – platform defines the functionality, think ahead to where the web is going, memberships are the driving force behind web 2.0, libraries as a prime mover in new technology, additional features – metadata, federated search, geomapping, data portability.