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Presentation on NYPL's experience with popular ebooks and social engagement for FGSR presentation in Salamanca, Spain, 2011.

Presentation on NYPL's experience with popular ebooks and social engagement for FGSR presentation in Salamanca, Spain, 2011.

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  • Hello, let me start by thanking you for inviting me to participate in this conference. Again, my name is Christopher Platt, I’m Director of Collections and Circulation Operations for The New York Public Library, which is comprised of 4 Research Libraries and 87 Branch Libraries serving 3.3 Million residents across 3 out of the 5 boroughs of New York City. I’m honored to be here, so far from home, engaged in this important conversation with colleagues, because it is truly a global subject, isn’t it? As more of our library patrons move online, as children and young adults are expected to be more and more literate in the digital environment in order to be successful in school, in career, and in life, we should be talking about what the library’s role is in that process is. We should be comfortable questioning that role. And when I say that, I do not mean comfortable questioning just what the future should be, but what the past has been as well. We should question what our own perceptions are, we should question our traditions, our skills, and we should be prepared to accept that some of them will need to change. Of course this isn’t news to any of the librarians in this room, we’re often at least aware of, if not at the forefront of, our patrons’ evolving needs. But I can say that my library, The New York Public Library, has undergone a great deal of fundamental change in recent years. Some of it has been driven by financial pressures, we’re currently advocating that the City not carry out the 29% funding cut they are proposing for the upcoming year. Most of the change however was strategically realigning ourselves to devote attention and resources on forward-thinking strategies, of which engaging patrons in the online environment is a major component.The concept of libraries going online to provide services to our patrons is of course not new. In the U.S., public libraries have been offering new online technologies for decades and The New York Public Library created its first website in 1995. But still, the recent years have brought a tremendous shift in consumer looking to use online services. As consumers learn to search, discover, purchase, and engage with other consumers online, it is logical that many of them want to apply that experience to their local library. Libraries are under greater pressure to meet the needs of users who have increasing expectations of what they should be able to find, when and where they should be able to get it, and how quickly they should be served.
  • As the e-book market in particular has grown in the U.S. in recent years, many people are looking with fresh eyes at the core library services: collections, reader’s advisory, creating life-long readers, and programming. Patrons, politicians, journalists, and even librarians are wondering what will happen to these traditional services when so many of our readers shift from print-to-digital. [click for motion]These are areas libraries excel at in the physical world. When our patrons come into our buildings, these services are right there for them to see and we’re there to assist them, to engage them, and meet their needs as effectively as we can. When the library user walks into one of our 90 buildings spread throughout Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island in New York City, we are ready for them. We meet them at our service point.
  • But how effectivelyare we providing these traditional, yet important services, to the person who wants to use them from their own service point? How do we engage that person? We’ve gone beyond measuring our success in the number of article downloads from our research databases. The New York Public Library’s website is the second most-visited library website in the U.S. after the Library of Congress, but that fact is no longer important by itself. How effectively are they using our website? What do we do to reach out beyond the website and entice new users? Two years ago the Library did an intensive study of our website that led to the redesign you see today. We revised and expanded email newsletters and created a dizzying array of blog channels designed to bring the expertise of individual librarians and our collections out from the building and into the open air, for more people to discover. We created a world class digital gallery. These developments are wonderful, but reach only so far.
  • One can think of it as if we are creating a sumptuous dinner, laying it out on a beautiful table covered in expensive linens, pouring a fine wine into a crystal glass, lighting the candles, then stepping away, closing the door behind us, and only coming back the next day to see if anyone touched the food. In many cases we only come back once a month to see if anyone touched the food.If that patron is someone we care about, wouldn’t we want to be at the table with them, sharing the meal?
  • I’m actually not going to talk much about our website, I’m going to focus on a few efforts that step beyond the site itself to address traditional services that are moving online in step with, or ahead of, our patrons. And in some cases, reflect New York Public Library’s effort to share that meal with them. Efforts to meet them where and when they want to engage us, not necessarily the other way around.Specifically, I’ll talk about our success with e-books and other forms of popular e-content, trying to stay one step ahead of the consumer shift from print reading to e-reading in the U.S. Consumer e-reading is dominated by Amazon.com in the U.S., followed by one of the largest chain bookstores, BarnesandNoble.com. The availability of digital versions of very popular titles, coupled with the explosion of e-readers and iPads and smartphones that are priced competitively and fairly easy to use, are helping move a lot of Americans into the e-book world. Last month, Amazon.com announced they sold more e-books than physical books for the first time ever. Print books are not going away, but our experience is that it is clear e-books are no longer just an extra format to offer, they are integral to our future. I’ll talk about some new ways colleagues of mine at the Library engage users in helping promote our materials and participate in reader’s advisory in the online world beyond our website, such as Twitter, Youtube and other social networking sites. I’ll share an example of one of our ultimate experiments in online user-engagement, using social-networking to ‘crowd-source’ volunteer help in making one of our most important and popular collections searchable by other users.
  • First, e-books and other popular e-content:The New York Public Library has offered downloadable e-books, e-audiobooks, e-music and e-video since 2004. Since then, our collections have grown in size and scope to become the most heavily used of any public library in the United States. We’ve learned much along the way, and for every success, there has come a new challenge. One of the biggest challenges is the ever increasing customer expectation of what we can provide. For each new e-content development, our customers’ reaction is usually “That’s nice, what’s next?” For popular e-content today, New York Public Library offers a core ebooks.nypl.org site hosted by Overdrive, the major US Library E-wholesaler, our Google books, two sites for children: Bookflix and TumbleBooks, and we’ve just launched a test of Freegal Music, for which we purchase a set number of downloads and then let each patron download up to 3 songs per week. We’re very excited about Freegal because popular e-music content has been a challenge the library market has faced as iTunes, Rhapsody, and other online sites proliferated.
  • Ebooks.nypl.org is our Overdrive site. We have 59,000 items on here and taken as a virtual “branch” alongside our 90 physical libraries, it’s consistently in the top 10 for circulation. Our current challenge with this site is that the collection is almost too big for the discovery tool Overdrive has for it. We’re constantly adjusting the layout to make it more user friendly but what we’d really like is a discovery layer that more seamlessly integrates with our online catalog search features, which are much more attuned to handling large diverse collections. As nice as that would be, there would be a corresponding impact in that these cataloging records need to be on par with their print counterparts and the discovery mechanism needs to adequately retrieve them in search results, so there is catalog maintenance work needed to support that. Still, our collection here has become wonderfully diverse with a wide range of new and backlist adult, …
  • …children’s..and…
  • …Young Adult titles. Overdrive’s subject headings seem to often confuse what is adult, young adult, or childrens, and we find ourselves correcting their mistakes, again not something we’d like to be doing but with a large collection in a mechanism that was not designed for a large library collection, we have to do it until Overdrive improves. While our Adult copies number in the tens of thousands, and our childrens titles in the thousands, the Young Adult list is only just over 1,000. But it’s growing, and we’re excited because this is an age group that we see U.S. publishers trying to engage so we expect the offering to grow significantly.
  • Our collection development team tries to select a mixture of recreational reading and practical non-fiction. As everywhere, we can never have enough test preparation books!
  • We have a few hundred e-book and e-audiobook titles in Spanish. Spanish language materials, along with Chinese and Russian, are important in New York City so we look forward to adding more as good titles become available. Much of what we have are translations from English language works.Notice in this search results list we have a few things that help guide the patron. These are e-audiobooks and the small pictures next to “Plays on” indicate what device the item will work with. Furthermore, we know many e-patrons do not want to wait in a holds list for a popular title, if we can’t provide it to them immediately, they’ll go elsewhere to get it. [click] So through our vendor, we have this link in small text that says “Want to own this title?”
  • This link takes a patron to a “Library Buy it Now” site. The patron can buy the title, getting immediate satisfaction, and we as the library get a small percentage as a credit towards future e-content purposes. This may seem a little controversial, but for libraries it serves two purposes:1 – it acknowledges to the patron that we understand in many cases, they want the book now, and we don’t have enough copies to satisfy that demand. So rather than condition the patron into regularly going elsewhere to find the titles they want, usually an online retailer, we’re saying ‘we’ll get you to an online retailer and you can feel good about it because your purchase helps support libraries.” 2 – it sends a powerful message to the publishers that libraries are not out to compete with their retail sales. Many e-book publishers in the U.S. are wary of the library market, and we want to do everything possible to stop the misconception that people will stop buying e-books and just get them all for free from the library. Besides, the publisher of course gets a percentage of this sale as well.
  • Going back to the list, the detail of each record contains information about the item, reviews, awards, and info on how many copies we have. It also includes any pertinent digital rights limitations. Here is an example of very strict use of an e-audiobook.
  • Here is an example of less restrictive digital rights for an e-book. Most patrons don’t care but this is not the type of information we spell out to them every time they search our Catalog for a print book. It’s an example trade publishers’ sensitivity to the e-book marketplace. It’s an attempt to thwart piracy by putting the details right in front of the patron. Notice that instead of number of pages and size of the book, it includes size of the digital file itself. This of course makes sense, because the patron will need to have that much space on their device before checking it out. Also note the social networking buttons for Facebook, Twitter, and sharing via e-mail. We know people like to tell friends and family about books they read, and these are helpful not just to that end, but to let others know the Library has a rich collection of e-content. We see those tweets forwarded quickly and widely, and they often result in someone saying they didn’t know the Library had e-books at all. All of the information on this screen is managed by our vendor, Overdrive.
  • Tumblebooks is a vendor that provides online books, these are not downloadable. They’re a rather small company putting out a simple product but these are immensely popular. We think that parents feel comfortable putting their children in front of a computer to use Tumblebooks because they are kid-friendly and “safe”, and an alternative to putting them in front of the television. One thing we see publishers doing lately is engaging the reader directly. Here you see a title that is a demonstration title, Tumblebooks is soliciting feedback from the reader on whether or not they would like to see more graphic novels like Ramp Rats on the site.
  • Here is what that graphic novel looks like on Tumblebooks.
  • Tumblebooks does offer some Spanish language titles, again very important in New York City. As you can see, these are translations from titles originally published in English.
  • Scholastic’s BookFlix is another child-oriented online e-book site that pairs a book with a video.
  • Like Tumblebooks they offer readalongs. They have a limited number of titles but this gets consistent use. But speaking of use, let’s return to our popular ebooks.nypl.org to see how it has grown over the years…
  • As you can see by the purple circulation line in this chart, our circulation is growing tremendously. This year we’re already 36% higher than this point last year. You can also see that while the patrons are growing, the amount of use is outpacing it, logically showing that these are dedicated e-patrons, returning to the library again and again for content. After Christmas this past December, we saw our use go up just like the retail stores did. With the launch of the iPad2 in late 2010, our ebooks.nypl.org circulation spiked again, specifically during the weeks after Christmas, when many patrons unwrapped new e-readers as gifts and immediately went to NYPL’s website to try them out. The three weeks leading up to the holiday averaged 8,500 circulations a week, while the three weeks following averaged 9,814. In January we had nearly 40,000 checkouts, our highest month ever. To give you an idea of how busy that month was, in January of the previous year, 2010, the site had1.5 Million page requests representing about 106,000 patrons.This past January we experienced 2.4 Million page requests representing over 145,000 patron visits, about 4,600 patrons a day. An increase of 37%. Still, of those 145,000 patron visits, only 8,704 patrons checked out a title. That’s over 130,000 patron visits representing people who were curious, didn’t want to wait for a book to come available, or were browsing for something new. We tell publishers this represents free marketing for them!
  • Obviously popular fiction and nonfiction drive our use.That’s some of the success – but as I said, for every success, there is a fresh challenge:
  • The first one is very basic, and any of you librarians who offer ebooks now to your users will understand this:Most of our users grew up reading books, a very basic piece of technology . Apart from programs for young children, very little of our time is spent teaching readers how to open a book. It’s almost instinctive. If I hand you a book right now it would likely be only seconds before you opened it.That’s not the case with reading on electronic devices. Because there are so many devices, and because they develop and change rapidly, and most importantly because we didn’t grow up using them, we find ourselves having to teach people how to open an e-book. It’s not easy, and as our collections and usage grew, we learned the impact of this support. Because our ebook use is from home or work or school, and mostly in the evenings, the support is then usually remote, via phone or email. Ourebook collection gets used most on Sunday and Monday nights, between 7 pm and Midnight, when the Library is closed. These are the patrons who “aren’t there”. They are not at our service point, they are at their service point, at their convenience. We have a 24 hour 7 day a week AskNYPL online chat service that patrons can use if they have questions or need assistance, but after hours this service is covered by other librarians across the United States on our behalf. These staff do their very best, but when the staff helping our patron is not staff working for our Library, there is a limited amount of support they can give before telling the patron to contact us the next morning or leave us a voicemail. The other factor is that troubleshooting and helping the patron access the book often takes much longer than answering the basic reference questions for which AskNYPL was designed. These patrons quickly started eating up our resources. We piloted with Overdrive to have them support our patrons for us, they are the experts, and they can do it most efficiently and effectively. So far it is going well, it has relieved some of the burden and is more effective for the patron. Still, we are relying more heavily on colleagues outside our own Library to help our patrons, is this the new service model we should be building? Should we be revising our staff hours to be available on Sunday and Monday nights until Midnight? We do not yet have answers to those questions.
  • Here’s an example of someone who learned how to open the e-book, then wanted to know if they could renew it. They reach out to us via Twitter….We responded saying “you can’t renew, but you can always check the ebook out again as long as no one else is waiting for it.” and provided a helpful link for the patron…
  • Unfortunately, the “helpful link” can be a bit intimidating… Here we’ve tried to anticipate a wide variety of questions. Most people are used to long help pages, but still we’re working with our vendor to simplify this. It’s clear that in the complicated digital world, navigating the Library has to be relearned all over again.
  • Another challenge we face as our collections from various vendors grow in size and scope, is lessening the amount of work the patron has to do to get to all the variety of resources they may want to use.When we purchase books and put them on our shelves, we don’t arrange them by publisher or who we purchased them from. We don’t expect our patrons to understand where they came from.Yet currently, our patrons have to go in via multiple access points to fully explore our popular e-content. Obviously the vendors host the data and the transactions, but our patrons do not necessarily understand the reasons behind this. When collections were small and we had only a few vendors, this was not so much of an issue. But now that e-reading is growing, we need these vendors to work with our ILS vendors for a discovery tool and a circulation system that brings them seamlessly together, making the patron work less to explore, discover, and check out the material. In an attempt to make the search and discovery process seamless alongside our print materials, we acquire MARC records from our e-content vendors and load them into our online catalog (catalog.nypl.org). But the vast majority of patrons do not go through the Catalog to get to e-books. Vendor data from the last 12 months show the online catalog refers only 13% of patrons to our ebooks.nypl.org page, a distant third (93,841) behind Google’s 30% (219,679) and our main website’s www.nypl.org 47% (349,038). Our children’s website kids.nypl.org refers 6% (47,528) and the vendor’s site itself search.overdrive.com 3% (23,459). The average patron spends 7:42 minutes surveying an average of 17 pages.
  • The most important challenge is content. Content drives our use. When we put new fresh titles into our collection, they get used immediately and we know having current popular titles is the main reason our circulation is so high.A recent New York Times bestseller list showed only 20 of the top 30 Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction titles were available in e-book format to the library market.All 30 were available in e-book format to bookstores and online retailers.At the moment, in the US, 3 major publishers do not release their ebooks to the library market. We have their print versions. Amazon.com has their ebook versions. But we don’t. It confuses the patrons and makes us look like we are not adequately meeting the reading needs of our communities.How do we get the remaining 10? We need to work harder to welcome these publishers into our collections, demonstrating the very real value we bring to the table, especially in terms of connecting books to readers and creating engaging reading communities. This is something libraries excel at, but publishers struggle with. But they are trying, two major publishers, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins earlier this year created online sites to promote their materials direct to consumer, engage with them, and solicit feedback. Just this month, a new online site called “Bookish” was announced “aimed at engaging and informing readers about authors and books” with the backing of 3 major publishers. Why are the publishers investing in this? We as libraries do this better. We should be encouraging them to use us for some of this work and we should be willing to let publishers partake in the engagement. For many publishers who are wary of letting libraries circulate e-books, this would go a long way to proving our value in exposing their work to engaged readers outweighs any impact we may have on their retail sales.
  • When it comes to popular e-content in libraries, I see 3 major keys for our future:Keep it simple. We must reduce the friction around finding and checking out an e-bookand push for standards in format and delivery that make opening an e-book more instinctual.Serve the patron who isn’t there. People who want an ebook have higher expectations from those who want a print book and are often not seen in person. We are expert at serving the patron who visits our library at 11 a.m. to find a book to read. We are still becoming expert at serving the patron who is at home, at 11 p.m. on a Sunday night, looking for an e-book to read. Promoting material to them, engaging them, and supporting their needs requires a great deal more marketing, outreach, and online engagement. Pursue excellent content relentlessly and open the door to engaging patrons in creating some of it. Not only should we be advocating with our publishers and wholesalers to get the best content possible, we should also recognize that we now have a venue for hosting freshly created content. NYPL has begun experimenting with crowd-sourcing content, we have teen programs that result in library-produced YouTube videos, we have online discussion groups, and we’ve expanded significantly into social media to get our expert voices heard across a broader spectrum. Let me show you a few examples….
  • The Library’s Assistant Director for Childrens, Family & Teen Programs, Jack Martin, has spearheaded a movement within the Library to move young library users from being content consumers to content creators. He sees this as an way to engage them in ways that are productive to both the young person and the library, yet recognize and acknowledge typical behaviors, especially in teens. Some of these include that teens often see the library not as a place to learn, but a place to hang out. They often travel in groups. And in the U.S. they are very connected digitally—with cell phones, smart phones, and other devices. He cites a 2008 McArthur Foundation Study by Mituzo Ito that led to a book “Hanging Out …” that illustrates these behaviors in the digital environment and stresses the influence of peer-based learning (peer-pressure) among young people. Jack often says if you get one teen into a library and provide a good experience they can relate to, the next day they’ll return with their friends. Projects that engage young people in content creation are perfect for this and themost successful are those that they can show their friends and family, preferably online. Here’s an example of an easy one…
  • The New York Public Library created a dedicated YouTube channel. We’ve branded it and use it to upload a variety of video content, much of which is recordings of existing programs. Here is screen-shot of our children’s librarian Rebecca Dash leading a toddler story hour at one of our libraries.
  • This is an example of using that YouTube channel to turn a young person into a content creator in a very simple way. Each year the Library puts out a list of recommended books, movies, music and videogames for teens. In 2009, we had teens from various branches video record brief reviews of books they recommended for the list. These were very simple, less than a minute each, and were often recorded in a group setting, so the natural inflections and interactions of these young people are very apparent, rather than being lost in high-quality production work. This let the project remain inexpensive and the result is more reflective of peer-to-peer recommendations that this age group places great value on. (show YouTube video)
  • This is a unique example to be sure, the main building of The New York Public Library celebrated its Centennial last month and as part of it, we hired a gaming expert, Jane McGonigal, to create an interactive game to celebrate. For this game, from among thousands of applicants, 500 young people were divided into teams with smartphones, locked into the library overnight, and given a series of virtual clues using strategically placed barcodes with which they had to treasure hunt through our collections, gather information, and collaborate together to write a book by morning. The game’s creator described it as “designed to empower young people to find their own futures by bringing them face-to-face with the writings and objects of people who made an extraordinary difference.” (show YouTube video)It was a terrific success. They had a book finished by morning and it was bound over the weekend and will be part of the Library’s collection. don’t know how many of you would necessarily lock your young patrons in your libraries overnight but I do imagine this concept could work on a smaller scale. By the way, this game is not over. Anyone, from any part of the world, can play the online version found on our website. I invite you to do so.Let’s move on to see how social networking also allows us to be interactive in an online environment with our patrons…
  • One of the ways we conduct Reader’s Advisory now is to promote books, movies and music with tweets. Often we tweet a provocative line from a book. Here is an example of one from a title by Isabel Allende in Spanish…when you click the link…
  • You get the catalog record for the item. From here the patron can place a hold on the book and go pick it up at the library of their choice.The Library currently has over 33,000 Facebook fans and over 128,000 Twitter Followers.
  • This Tweet was forwarded by 9 of those followers soon after it was posted. These are people who engaged with us and helped promote our materials without stepping foot through our doors. They may be our library patrons, or they may be random people who follow the hash tag “espanol” who liked what we posted and decided to share it with others. The Library actually spreads much of the work supporting this social networking activity out among various staff, so we have individuals at nearly every level and location participating. What you see on this screen is our flagship Twitter account but we actually manage over 100 social media accounts across Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and other sites.Obviously we have a large organization, but any library can do this. It’s simple and inexpensive.
  • Another way New York Public Library is bringing patrons online is through crowd-sourcing micro-volunteer projects. For those of you not familiar with the concept, ‘micro-volunteering’ is assembling the work of your project into a meaningful and accessible way and then opening it up to interested, like-minded individuals (the crowd) to help complete the work. In our case, we have projects that do not require trained professionals, but for which the scale is prohibitive to hire enough staff to accomplish it ourselves. To complete these projects would be beneficial to the community of users who would access the materials, and it would allow individuals to benefit just by participating. To date we’ve launched two, one of which I’ll focus on now.In early April, the Library quietly announced a new project: inviting people to help us transcribe our collection of thousands of digitized historical restaurant menus. The goal is to create a searchable database that allows researchers and interested amateurs to delve into this rich collection in more meaningful and easier ways rather than menu by menu. Because of the nature of the menus themselves, the script does not lend itself easily to Optical Character Recognition technology, therefore a human eye needs to interpret it and transcribe it. Here you see such a menu…it is a lunch menu from a Red Star Line luxury liner Atlantic Ocean crossing in 1900. To the right is the digitized image, to the left is transcribed information from it, such as “Dishes on this page” which list out the individual menu items such as “Savoyarde”, “Roast beef” and “German Sausage”. Much of it sounds tempting…
  • The project launched on the 18th of April. The announcement was made on the Twitter feed from “nypl_menus” managed by the Library’s culinary librarian, Rebecca Federman, and our Digital Humanities Project Coordinator, Ben Vershow. No large press release was made. Rebecca and Ben relied on their small community of avid culinary Twitter followers to participate in spreading the word. You can see here that within 24 hours, 1,000 dishes were already transcribed, and Rebecca and Ben reported being able to search across menus for the first time…using a sample keyword search for “mackerel”.
  • Within a week, 60,000 dishes had been transcribed. Note the tactic Rebecca and Ben used of repeatedly Tweeting status updates, press mentions, and questions from participants. This keeps the project lively and participants engaged, key factors if you have a project that is going to take a long time to complete and need a lot of participants. You do not want the commentary to die down because you run the risk of scaring away new participants who might think the project has ended or is no longer important.
  • Interest in the menus transcription continued to build over the days to come, garnering press interest and attention from far beyond New York City. Here at the top you see someone who is a Twitter follower of the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp letting them know one of their menus is in NYPL’s menu collection. I didn’t even know the Museum existed. Let’s focus on a few of the tweets on the bottom of this screen…
  • Children became involved! “A 4th grade class at a school for deaf children in San Antonio ,Texas, has been using menus.nypl.org to practice…”
  • 2,500 kilometers away from New York City, in the great state of Texas, a teacher caught the Tweet and decided it would make a nice change of pace for her students who were learning to type.
  • In a week, her students were volunteering on the project that combines their typing practice with learning about foods and historical prices. This is an entry from their blog showing photos of the students at work. This is another example of the engaging people in our online process, and making them part of it. This particular example supports our goal of turning young people from content consumers into content creators. As these individuals grow older, they will always be able to go to the New York Public Library website and find transcriptions they made. In that way, we’re making a difference in each other’s lives, enriching not just the library, but the young person as well. They’ll take pride in this, and hopefully in this small way value libraries more because of it. And it was all serendipitous…
  • We did not actively approach students in far away Texas to help us transcribe our menu collections. The power of social networking opened up this avenue. You can see our social networking buttons on our menus website….over 1,000 people liked it on facebook and over 500 people tweeted it. More people shared it in other ways. We also invite interested patrons to follow us on Twitter or to read the blog for updates. To date, 250,000 dishes have been transcribed from over 4,700 menus.
  • The micro-volunteering project that led to the menu transcribing was an earlier one in which we invited interested participants to help us organize our digitized collection of maps, numbering in the tens of thousands, into ‘digitally aligned’ layers, matching geographic points such as streets between maps. This work allows an individual looking for information on an area to layer historic and current maps of that area on top of each other, to better understand how it may have changed over time. I won’t go into detail, but here you can see examples of historic maps for parts of New York City that are being layered with new counterparts.This project generated similar interest as the menu project, although it is more time intensive. As a research library, this is a perfect example of a project that would not have been easily carried out by ourselves, and yet in this crowd-sourcing environment, it functions not only to carry out important work for other researchers, but it welcomes cartographers of all levels into our map collections without requiring they pass through our door. It creates an engaged library user who will value the library that much more because they as an individual have contributed to it. This type of crowd-sourced volunteerism does not have to be tied to these specialized projects. It can just as easily be applied to more everyday library activities, especially those in which libraries must play a greater role online, such as reader’s advisory, programming, job hunting, and literacy.
  • One last example of engaging people online involved a recent systemwide exhibit our Exhibitions and Programming group curated called “Three Faiths”, focusing on the cultural heritage of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam on the Western world. There were numerous programs and exhibits around our 90 physical locations, but the group also created a strong online presence. One of the simplest, and most effective, involved using the Library’s Flickr.com account. If so look at the lower right of this screen, you see a photo for “Faith on the Street”.
  • New Yorkers of all ages were invited to submit photos, which were then posted on Flickr to create, over the course of the exhibit, a growing gallery of images. Very simple, yet very powerful.
  • To me this is an example of crowd-sourcing at it’s best—very simple, yet very powerful.
  • So I’ve shown you just a few examples of my Library’s experiences with engaging the online Library patron. Some of the concepts are quite easy, but we have not avoided those that are more challenging and require an ongoing effort to improve and support. Luckily, there are a multitude of tools already available, many for free, that can help. What’s more, our patrons are already using those same tools. I encourage you to take similar approaches at your libraries. I’m sure many of you already are, and if so I encourage you to continue to share your experience at conferences such as this one. As we share ideas that promote new ways of engaging patrons, that create new opportunities for the patron to see the value we bring to them as they sit at their computer, or their iPad, or their smart phone, we are demonstrating to society that the importance of a virtual library is just as great as the physical library. This will help ensure that libraries can continue their important role in civilization for generations to come.It demonstrates that we can lay out a sumptuous dinner…
  • …and join the patron in the dinner conversation.Thank you.

May 24 platt nypl presentation for salamanca May 24 platt nypl presentation for salamanca Presentation Transcript

  • Engaging the Library Patron Who Isn’t There
    Success and Challenges with E-books and Online Initiatives
  • Where is the library patron?
    Images: Google and The New York Public Library
  • Where is the library patron?
  • Where is the library patron?
    Images: New York Public Library
  • Where is the library patron?
    E-books
    Social Networking
    Websites
  • Popular e-content we offer today:
    www.nypl.org/ebooks
    ebooks.nypl.org
    Popular Music
    Children’s
    NYPL’s Google Books
    Children’s
  • Ebooks.nypl.org
  • Ebooks.nypl.org
  • Less Young Adult titles so far…
  • A mix of fun and work…
  • A few hundred titles in Espanol…
  • “Want to own this title?”
  • Details about the item include digital rights
    e-audiobook
  • Details about the item include digital rights
    e-book
  • Tumblebooks is an online Children’s Ebook Provider
    Requesting feedback
  • Tumblebooks read-along is popular
  • Tumblebooks offers some Spanish titles…
  • Scholastic BookFlix pairs book and video for young children
  • BookFlix also offers read-along
  • Ebooks.nypl.org most popular subjects
  • E-Literacy: How to open a book?
    This is instinctive
    This is not … (yet)
    Images: The New York Public Library
  • E-Literacy: How to use a book?
    A Twitter patron has asked if they can renew an e-book. NYPL tweets the response with a helpful link….
    Images: The New York Public Library
  • E-Literacy: How to use a book?
    Images: The New York Public Library
  • Access: How easy is it to find?
    In physical world, we bring together many items into a single access point: the shelf
    In the e-content world, there is as yet no single shelf or type of access
    Images: The New York Public Library
  • Content is King…
    …but we cannot always get it.
    How do we convince publishers:
    • We excel at engaging readers
    • We excel at exposing and promoting titles
    • We excel at building reading communities
    • We are taking all of this online
    The New York Times
  • Library E-book Keys for the Future
    Keep it simple.
    Serve the patron who isn’t there.
    Pursue excellent content relentlessly.
  • Moving Young People from Content Consumers to Content Creators
    “Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media” by Mituzo Ito [et al]. MIT Press, 2010.
    Youtube projects : www.youtube.com/user/newyorkpubliclibrary
    Online Gaming projects
    Micro-volunteering projects
    Crowd-sourcing exhibitions
  • www.youtube.com/user/newyorkpubliclibrary
  • From Content Consumer to Content Creator: You-Tube Videos of Teen Recommendations
  • Online Gaming (a unique example)
    exhibitions.nypl.org/100/digital_fun/play_the_game
  • Twitter at work in Reader’s Advisory:
  • Twitter at work in Reader’s Advisory:
  • Twitter at work in Reader’s Advisory:
  • Micro-volunteering: menu transcription
  • NYPL invited people to crowdsource via Twitter on the 18th of April
  • 60,000 dishes were transcribed in the first week.
  • Interest continued to grow via Twitter…
  • Children became involved!
  • Teachers of a 4th Grade Class at a school for the deaf in San Antonio, Texas, 2,500 km away, came across the invite tweet…
    http://fourthgrade.sunshinecottage.org/Sunshine_Cottage_4th_Grade/Class_Blog.html
  • 1 week later, students are helping NYPL!
  • Social Networking is key to this success
    menus.nypl.org
  • We did a similar effort with our maps collection
    maps.nypl.org
  • Crowd-sourcing a gallery exhibit….
  • Crowd-sourcing a gallery exhibit….
  • Crowd-sourcing a gallery exhibit….
    Images: The New York Public Library
  • Where is the librarian?
    E-books
    Social Networking
    Websites
  • The librarian is at the table with patrons
    Christopher PlattDirector, Collections and Circulation Operationschristopherplatt@nypl.org
    Images: The New York Public Library