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Building a 'single digital presence' for public libraries

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This presentation is taken from a webinar the single digital presence team held with public library staff from across the UK. In it we communicate our latest vision for the project, outlining what we've been up to since the publication of our report and how we've refined our recommendations building on an extensive period of user research.

About the project: The Single Digital Presence project, based at the British Library is exploring how to improve digital services in the United Kingdom's public libraries. Our goal is to equip public libraries with the right tools and to increase public library use both on and offline.

You can find out more about our project by reading this blog:
https://www.bl.uk/press-releases/2019/june/new-research-proposes-five-options-for-a-digital-presence-in-public-libraries

or by emailing us singledigitalpresence@bl.uk

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Building a 'single digital presence' for public libraries

  1. 1. Building a ‘single digital presence’ for public libraries
  2. 2. www.bl.uk Session plan Schedule Topic Facilitators 14.00 – 14.10 Intros &Welcome Jacob, Liz 14.10-14.15 Our response to COVID-19 Jacob, Fleur 14.15-15.00 SDP vision 2020 Liz, Jacob 15.00-15.30 Q&A Fleur 2
  3. 3. www.bl.uk Housekeeping • Please mute your mics if you are not speaking • Keep the comments and questions coming throughout the presentation • Raise your (virtual) hand if you would like to contribute to the Q&A • Guests welcome (especially cute children) • Come and go as you please 3
  4. 4. www.bl.uk What we do. 4 We help libraries make people’s lives richer and more rewarding… By researching how digital technology can secure the public library as a vibrant civic space for the twenty-first century.
  5. 5. www.bl.uk Who we are 5 Liz White, Head of Public Libraries and EngagementLiz Jolly, Chief Librarian Jacob Fredrickson, Single Digital Presence project manager Fleur Martin, Single Digital Presence project officer
  6. 6. www.bl.uk Our response to COVID-19 • The need of a central digital platform is clearer and more needed than ever • We’re working with our partners to capture how libraries are responding to the crisis • We’re supporting sector-wide programmes to make content and services more available in the short term • Our project continues to run at 100% 6
  7. 7. www.bl.uk 7 “The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.” R. David Lankes The public library in the 21st century
  8. 8. www.bl.uk 8 “Public libraries can leverage the physical assets in their communities in combination with people and virtual services and collections to serve as a platform that can be a vital part of the solution to addressing local challenges.” Source: https://www.knightfoundation.org/articles/libraries-leaders- https://www.knightfoundation.org/articles/libraries-leaders- leaders-opportunity-our-communities
  9. 9. www.bl.uk Why us? • Complements our mission to make our intellectual heritage available to everyone • Links to Heritage Made Digital, Everything Available and Everyone Engaged • Consistent with our convening role for the UK’s research and information infrastructure and statutory provision for us to support other libraries • Connects British Library with 8m active and diverse public library users in the heart of their communities • Pan-UK presence and role: Living Knowledge Network, Legal Deposit partnership, PLR, HE sector role (UK Research Reserve etc) 9
  10. 10. www.bl.uk Our vision for the SDP product is to…. 10 “… increase public library use, enable efficiencies and amplify the impact and importance of libraries at local, national and international level.”
  11. 11. www.bl.uk The journey so far… 11 January 2015 November 2015 November 2016 March 2017 June 2019
  12. 12. www.bl.uk User Research 12
  13. 13. www.bl.uk User Research 13 Framework by John Waterworth (@jwaterworth) https://www.dxw.com/2020/02/using-hypotheses-to-hold-together-your-learning-thinking-and-making/
  14. 14. www.bl.uk 14 Users VALUE access the library as a space and the expertise of library staff They NEED more consistent and less complex ways of finding and then ordering material They WOULD LIKETO HAVE more access to material, particularly specialist/academic texts
  15. 15. www.bl.uk 15 There is scope to provide rights-cleared content nationally and clear user appetite to find out about and book services/activities online. There is also interest in experiential offers as well as transactional ones. Those who currently don’t use digital services will need sustained support in digital skills and literacy so that increased use of digital is not a barrier Content must be workable within existing and there must be a compelling case for adoption local authorities
  16. 16. www.bl.uk 16
  17. 17. www.bl.uk A single digital presence should be one part of digital transformation 17 The ‘Single Digital Presence’ An online space for all of the United Kingdom’s public libraries. Promoting the content, spaces and communities at the heart of the public library service 1 Improved infrastructure Promotion of interoperability between library management systems, improving public library data, and encouraging uniform and comprehensive technical standards for the sector. 3 Common ways of working The development of common patterns and frameworks to improve and enhance local library websites and their transactional services 2
  18. 18. A vision for a ‘minimal viable product’ Showcasing the value, and values of libraries and librarianship A space for inspiring high quality content celebrating the values, and value of public libraries and librarianship ● Regular features on books and reading, and civic society with a librarian focus ● Growing awareness on the role and values of the public library in contemporary society ● A space to promote digital and information literacy initiatives A social space, with community at its heart A platform that celebrates and amplifies the library as a social space, providing easy access to events, activities and community action happening within the walls of the public library ● A uniform, intuitive and easy to use event listing platform ● Local librarians can curate their own community space ● A space for co-production and community generated content A single search function for the United Kingdom’s lending collection ● Utilise existing technology to ‘plug-in’ to local systems ● Users can reserve without being redirected ● Operability grows as the platform develops ● Open to collaborative projects with similar projects in HE, Research and National libraries. A simple and intuitive journey towards the content held in public libraries, that is scalable to the needs of users.
  19. 19. www.bl.uk Rationale for the single digital presence vision SDP minimal viable product (February 2020) User Research (September 2019) SDP Report Recommendation (May 2019) Showcasing the value of libraries and librarians  Users value the expertise of the librarian  Users are passionate about the role and purpose of libraries  Users value ‘organic’ discovery, reading books recommended by librarians Option E: One Library Brand Option D: A Safe Social Space A single search function for the United lending collection  Users struggle to find catalogues  Users find search functions “old fashioned”  Users want to search beyond their local area Option B: UK Wide Content Discovery Has potential to include: Option C: Unified Digital Lending Option A: Deep Shared Infrastructure A social space, with community at its heart  Users value the opportunity to meet new people in their library  Users expressed frustration at the level of promotion of events  Users value libraries role in growing and sustaining communities Option D: A Safe Social Space Has potential to include: Option A: Deep shared infrastructure 19
  20. 20. www.bl.uk 20 Showcasing the value, and values of libraries and librarianship A space for inspiring high quality content celebrating the values, and value of public libraries and librarianship ● Regular features on books and reading, and civic society with a librarian focus ● Growing awareness on the role and values of the public library in contemporary society ● A space to promote digital and information literacy initiatives A social space, with community at its heart A platform that celebrates and amplifies the library as a social space, providing easy access to events, activities and community action happening within the walls of the public library ● A uniform, intuitive and easy to use event listing platform ● Local librarians can curate their own community space ● A space for co-production and community generated content A single search function for the United Kingdom’s lending collection ● Utilise existing technology to ‘plug-in’ to local systems ● Users can reserve without being redirected ● Operability grows as the platform develops ● Open to collaborative projects with similar projects in HE, Research and National libraries. A simple and intuitive journey towards the content held in public libraries, that is scalable to the needs of users.
  21. 21. www.bl.uk Showcasing the value of libraries and librarianship • 61% of users spoken to in ‘pop up’ research didn’t use any technology before or during their library visit • Users not using technology partly because they do not know it is available, or it is clunky to use • Users come to the library to browse for books, often valuing the expertise of librarians • Users value organic discovery and the ability to ‘learn something new’ 21 “Staff are really helpful in recommending books” “Library Staff feel more like friends, really helpful” “A library is like an exercise for the mind” “One of the roles of libraries is to introduce people to new authors” Showcasing the value, and values of libraries and librarianship A social space, with community at its heart A single search function for the United Kingdom’s lending collection
  22. 22. www.bl.uk Core principles • Promote, enhance and grow what users already value: The expertise of the librarian and a place to browse rather than search • Focus on the value of reading, libraries, literature, information literacy and learning • High quality material attracting a growing community of library users • Build skills and training for library staff to engage and advocate 22 Showcasing the value of libraries and librarianship Showcasing the value, and values of libraries and librarianship A social space, with community at its heart A single search function for the United Kingdom’s lending collection
  23. 23. www.bl.uk Prerequisites • A team of experienced editors and commissioners • High quality UX design and development • Collaborative commissioning with sector partners (ie. BBC, National Libraries, Good Thing Foundation) • Advocacy and skill training for local librarians, library staff and volunteers 23 Showcasing the value of libraries and librarianship Showcasing the value, and values of libraries and librarianship A social space, with community at its heart A single search function for the United Kingdom’s lending collection
  24. 24. www.bl.uk 24 Showcasing the value, and values of libraries and librarianship A space for inspiring high quality content celebrating the values, and value of public libraries and librarianship ● Regular features on books and reading, and civic society with a librarian focus ● Growing awareness on the role and values of the public library in contemporary society ● A space to promote digital and information literacy initiatives A social space, with community at its heart A platform that celebrates and amplifies the library as a social space, providing easy access to events, activities and community action happening within the walls of the public library ● A uniform, intuitive and easy to use event listing platform ● Local librarians can curate their own community space ● A space for co-production and community generated content A single search function for the United Kingdom’s lending collection ● Utilise existing technology to ‘plug-in’ to local systems ● Users can reserve without being redirected ● Operability grows as the platform develops ● Open to collaborative projects with similar projects in HE, Research and National libraries. A simple and intuitive journey towards the content held in public libraries, that is scalable to the needs of users.
  25. 25. www.bl.uk 25 “The catalogue is really old fashioned” “Difficult to search and reserve books” “I find it weird there is a database for Edinburgh but not Scotland in general” • Current ordering systems are inconsistent and complicated • Catalogues are hard to find • Increased use highlights growing demand • Users want to search a greater area than their local library “I’d like to order books from other libraries” A single search function for the United Kingdom’s lending collection Showcasing the value, and values of libraries and librarianship A social space, with community at its heart A single search function for the United Kingdom’s lending collection
  26. 26. www.bl.uk Core principles • Users can find material simply and intuitively • Search results are straightforward, with local holdings prioritised • Users can see material nearby, not in their local library • Users can access material without being directed to local websites 26 A single search function for the United Kingdom’s lending collection Showcasing the value, and values of libraries and librarianship A social space, with community at its heart A single search function for the United Kingdom’s lending collection
  27. 27. www.bl.uk Prerequisites • Open data and metadata • LMS providers open up systems • Dedicated resource for development • Anticipates future search habits, rather than responding to current user journeys • Advocacy and skill training for local librarians, library staff and volunteers 27 A single search function for the United Kingdom’s lending collection Showcasing the value, and values of libraries and librarianship A social space, with community at its heart A single search function for the United Kingdom’s lending collection
  28. 28. www.bl.uk Improving the search function as it grows, collaborating with projects already underway 28 Users can register for other library services and order material Users can order material from other library services within the search function Material supplemented with other collections i.e. heritage collections, digitised material or learning resources from partner libraries Simple search, filtered by location, users can access material without being redirected A single search function for the United Kingdom’s lending collection Showcasing the value, and values of libraries and librarianship A social space, with community at its heart A single search function for the United Kingdom’s lending collection
  29. 29. www.bl.uk 29 Showcasing the value, and values of libraries and librarianship A space for inspiring high quality content celebrating the values, and value of public libraries and librarianship ● Regular features on books and reading, and civic society with a librarian focus ● Growing awareness on the role and values of the public library in contemporary society ● A space to promote digital and information literacy initiatives A social space, with community at its heart A platform that celebrates and amplifies the library as a social space, providing easy access to events, activities and community action happening within the walls of the public library ● A uniform, intuitive and easy to use event listing platform ● Local librarians can curate their own community space ● A space for co-production and community generated content A single search function for the United Kingdom’s lending collection ● Utilise existing technology to ‘plug-in’ to local systems ● Users can reserve without being redirected ● Operability grows as the platform develops ● Open to collaborative projects with similar projects in HE, Research and National libraries. A simple and intuitive journey towards the content held in public libraries, that is scalable to the needs of users.
  30. 30. www.bl.uk 30 “The whole family value events at the library – arts and craft, coding club, opera north.” “I value events for all ages.” “As a mum, dealing with maternal mental health and loneliness, the library is invaluable.” “I wasn’t aware of library events until I was told by a librarian.” • Users value opportunities to meet others in the local community who share the same interests, including reading, gaming, technology and films • Users expressed frustration at the level of promotion of events and low awareness of them • Users value when community is at the heart of what libraries do. A social space, with community at its heart Showcasing the value, and values of libraries and librarianship A social space, with community at its heart A single search function for the United Kingdom’s lending collection
  31. 31. www.bl.uk Core principles • Simple, intuitive event listings, scalable and personalised to users location and preferences • Online community spaces, that can be curated by local librarians and, eventually, users themselves • R&D into more user generated features • Resource for training and advocacy so libraries and librarians can hold editorial autonomy over content within common standards and centralised design. 31 A social space, with community at its heart Showcasing the value, and values of libraries and librarianship A social space, with community at its heart A single search function for the United Kingdom’s lending collection
  32. 32. www.bl.uk Prerequisites • Dedicated resource for development • Team for ongoing editing and moderation • Sophisticated approach to balancing user-generated content with safety, security and trust • Advocacy and skill training for local librarians, library staff and volunteers 32 A social space, with community at its heart Showcasing the value, and values of libraries and librarianship A social space, with community at its heart A single search function for the United Kingdom’s lending collection
  33. 33. www.bl.uk Deepening social features as it grows, in line with resource available 33 Further development of social features with editorial limited to safeguarding and moderation Reduction in ‘top-down content’ and the promotion of user generated community content Launch of ‘community owned spaces’ generated by users themselves Launch of event listing platform and community spaces populated with local content. A social space, with community at its heart Showcasing the value, and values of libraries and librarianship A social space, with community at its heart A single search function for the United Kingdom’s lending collection
  34. 34. Building a community of library lovers online & forging a common identity, utilising the expertise and value of librarianship High quality inspiring content concerning books, reading, civic culture and society with the librarian at its heart. . Growing strong, place-based communities Using digital to grow communities and community action. Helping users utilise the events already happening in libraries and placing the library at the heart of community. Improving access to, and knowledge of, public library collections Delivering easier and more intuitive access to the holdings of public libraries, attuned to the habits of a cross-jurisdictional user base. . 03 01 02 A value proposition for the ‘single digital presence’
  35. 35. www.bl.uk 35 The SDP Project in 2020: Next steps • Technical discovery with our delivery partners dxw • Live testing of prototypes to support this vision • Online survey • Funding and Governance scoping
  36. 36. www.bl.uk Q&A • Please write comments or questions if you’d prefer not to speak • Please raise your (virtual) hand if you like to speak 36

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