Blogs and Usability

The Seattle Public Library Main Page is concise and looks approachable to both the first time and seasoned user of the page.  For our purposes, it clearly indicates the social networking connection with a Facebook link button at the bottom of the page, a fairly standard feature when social networking is a marketing component.  This is a discrete way to direct traffic to a more colloquial discussion location where there is more direct feedback from the web handlers/admins.

From this front page, patrons are able to donate, search the databases and other websites, access the library catalog if you have a username set up, find branches of the library, and also see two distinct blogs the library offers, on the lower right-hand side.

In order to cater to two different audiences, the Seattle Public Library has a blog for Adults and one for Teens.  The Teen page has a long (and moving) list of links to upcoming events, as well as to authors, and other community websites.  The blog appears to be about three years old, and attempts to be interactive with a wide variety of topics, but seems to fall a bit short of getting a large response from teens – although this is possibly to be expected.  The Adult page has more frequent postings, longer write-ups, more pictures, and more in-depth stories, but like the Teen page, comments and feedback, invited by “Leave a comment” are not visible unless you click a separate link to find them.  The featured books in the blogs are hyperlinked to the library catalogue, while discussion topics are often linked to a PDF or a FAQ page.

Returning to Library 2.0 features, on the main page, there is also a link leading patrons to a page describing how there is a Mobile application that can be added to your phone: SPL Mobile.  Having this feature enables a chat helpline, allows one to check the library events calendar, find a branch, reserve books, and link to social media, such as Facebook.

ELSEWHERE

This wiki maintains a list of all reported libraries that blog in North America, which can be modified and edited by any visitor with a link to another library that blogs, but there are certainly some big players absent (i.e., Vancouver Public Library).  Toronto Public Library’s blog for kids visually appeals to kids and has varied headings to link to… presumably mostly for parents to navigate.  The Calgary Public Library has an Index of Blogs for their organization, including one for Community Heritage and Family History and Environmentalism/Sustainability in the community.  A similar index is offered from Waterloo Public Library’s List of Blogs, which also includes their social media links.

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