Green with envy . . .

by tosca on Saturday, August 16, 2008

I have spent quite a bit of time during the tutorial looking at other library web pages and seeing how they've implemented the use of the web 2.0 tools. Have also spent some time noticing which parts they've opted to implement and how customers are using them. Which led to my noticing, just over this last week and a bit (maybe just this week) that Auckland City Libraries and Christchurch City Libraries have made significant changes to their sites, and I am enjoying what they have done so far. I have also used this opportunity to look through other national public library pages to see wassup. I'll start with my current favourites:

Christchurch City Libraries - I have long been a fan of their site and have suffered envy pangs over their website and, from a Readers' Advisory perspective, have salivated over their online booklists for at least the last five and a half years that I've worked for Manukau Libraries. Their front page is uncluttered and clear with minimal scrolling up/down, and the headings are unambiguous. I decided to have a look at their Subject Guides and enjoyed that the links don't necessarily lead only to the catalogue, or to non-fiction resources, but also to local people, museums and articles, such as this one regarding music for relaxation and therapy. Because of my previous position as a young adult liaison I would often cruise this site for ya info/booklists and was always impressed by their teen site The Pulse/Te Auaha. There's some fascinating stuff here and it all links back to local content: from an interview with Hannah King (talented musician), to posting music/band reviews, to movie reviews and author interviews. I especially like how all relevant borrower information (opening hours, job vacancies, events calendar, blog etc.) are all listed very clearly to the right of the page. Simply click and follow. They even have LiveOnline which is an online interactive reference service so the general public can get help using databases or whatever. Whoa - notice that their hours for this service are Mon-Fri 9am - 9pm, Sat/Sun 9am - 4pm. That's dedication! Hell, I could go on forever about them, I won't, except to say I am enjoying their blog. Have recently read their 'Morbid Thoughts' post that asks 'What's with all these books obsessed with death and cramming everything in before the grim reaper appears?' The author refers to such titles as '1001 books you must read before you die,' and 'Unforgettable things to do before you die' and suchlike. Funny!

Auckland City Libraries - while my envy of Auckland City Libraries' website has never been of the falling-down-dying variety to date, it may well be headed that way since they've made some quite big changes lately. The overall front page look is a lot cleaner and less cluttered than it used to be, and I especially like that they've got 'Site Contents', 'Our favourites' and 'Quick links' right there as soon as the page loads. They have a Library blog link that provides 'commentary and views on key library topics.' This page contains 5 blogs for viewing interest. Decided to follow 'Scooper on libraries' which looks at future/current trends in public libraries and how the internet/technology affects them. I can't decide if they have too many blogs available or not - who's to say how many is too many? Personally, think I'd prefer an eclectic mish-mash all in one. Might have to come back to that later.

Got sidetracked looking at their 'New and Recommended' section, in particular their 'Recommended lists'. This idea fascinates me! The lists are submitted by staff and website members - who are not necessarily library borrowers. How do I know?? Because I completed their web account registration online form. D'OH. I then followed the registration link sent to my Gmail address and was able to login and, from now on, I am able to start/join a discussion on topics, place comments on blogs, create/comment on recommended lists. Whoa heck - you're even able to put together a profile complete with nickname, picture and a few comments about yourself (would imagine interests, hobbies, fav authors etc. would suffice). Although I have resisted the temptation to do this. The beauty of their recommended lists is that you can choose by All, Celebrity lists, Members' lists, Kids, Librarian lists. Each category displays a listing of whatever titled lists have been placed here, and can be arranged either alphabetically or by popularity. Still in the vein of 'play' I went for 'Members' lists' and 'A list of great DVDs for Happy Rainy Days.'

Crap, as usual I've gone on ad nauseum about one thing in particular, so I suppose the next post (in a day or so or whenever) will look at another couple of public library websites. Maybe if I even stop procrastinating I'll create a recommended list of my own and post about that. Maybe. Did notice that while Christchurch goes for the live virtual reference session Auckland has opted for the 'Ask A Librarian' service where borrowers leave their question/feedback here with their contact details. Is it a biggie? No idea, really. Just a general observation.

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