On a spectrum of engagement with Library 2.0, the Upper Arlington Public Library falls much closer to the Salt Lake City Public library, with only a very few ways for users to interact with the website’s content. While not completely devoid of means of interaction with the library through the website, many of the tools they use are more traditional, and less embracing of Web 2.0 ideals.
In reviewing UAPL’s website for its engagement in Library 2.0 technologies, I will be looking at the following three issues to guide my review. This will permit me to see both what tools are present, as well as how well this use is facilitated through instruction and explanations.
- Look at what Library 2.0 tools are avaliable or promoted on the website.
- Review what assistance the library provides on the website to guide their patrons in actually using the tools.
- Assess what explanations as to why users would want to use these tools, and who exactly would benefit from using them.
Library 2.0 Tools on Upper Arlington Public Library System Website
Like both the Salt Lake County Library System and the Columbus Metropolitan Library, the Upper Arlington Public Library uses Evanced to manage their events. This provides some instant Library 2.0 features, with the RSS feeds and the ability to modify the calendar views. UAPL also allows users to register for programs on line, which is required for a lot of their programs.
In their other tools, UAPL follows a more traditional approach to providing interactivity. They have various e-mail newsletters that users can subscribe to, which allow some interaction with the library. They also provide an interesting book club, where the library sends users excerpts from books via e-mail. While these are not technically Library 2.0 tools, they provide a sense of interaction with the library that is beyond just a static website.
Assistance Provided on Web Site to Use these Tools
The few interactive tools on the website are very simple to use, and so they require very little instruction to navigate. Joining the e-mail lists is a matter of clicking a button and typing an e-mail. It would be nice if there were some information about unsubscribing to the e-mail lists, but hopefully this information is included in the e-mails.
Just as with the other libraries that use Evanced, there are no included tutorials, which is particularly difficult in this case where registration is required for many activities. This tool could use more explanation to make it more user friendly. Either the library could provide it, or the system that they hire could create a tool page.
Explanation as to Why Patrons Would Want to Use the Tools
For the e-mail lists, the library does invite users to join them mentioning specific reasons why they might want to join, trying to appeal to people with specific interests. This is more of an advertisement that describes what the content is, though they do entice readers to experience some books even before they are published. As to the rest of the tools, there is not a lot of explanation as to why anyone would want to use them. It is just assumed that users want to know what is going on, so they would want to use the interactive tool.
Overall assessment of the Library 2.0 tools on the Library’s Website
The Upper Arlington Public Library has not really begun to embrace the many Library 2.0 tools that other libraries are integrating into their websites, but they have provided some ways that their users can interact with the library via their website. These e-mail lists are not quite Library 2.0, but they provide interaction that many users expect. Certainly there is something to be said for an e-mail list that is frequently updated and maintained, versus a RSS feed that is not consistently supplied with content.