If I didn’t work here…

It’s easy to get over excited about different applications and ideas for ways to transform library services. Harder to make sure that we change things that make a difference to library users. Today I’ve been trying to think about what I would want from my library account if I didn’t work at the library. Some are 2.0, others are just things that would make a difference to me.

1. Pay my library fines online with a credit card. If I didn’t work here I would certainly have library fines and I would want to pay fines when I renewed my late books online to save time when in the library and stop my card getting blocked.

2. Manage my loans history. A chronological list is fine but if I can borrow 30 items at a time I would want to manage that list, save items that I may want to borrow again and mark authors that I didn’t like so I don’t make the same mistake twice!

3. RSS feeds for authors and titles. I’m pretty addicted to my Bloglines and I’d like a feed for new books by authors I have enjoyed and a feed for my wish list so I know when new titles I’m interested in have arrived.

4. A wish list! At the moment I add items I want to borrow to my Amazon wish list but I would love a library wish list that I could add to even if the book isn’t available in the library. I’d then like to be able to search for and reserve items from my wish list.

5. Online ILL requesting. I know many libraries do this already but we haven’t quite caught up yet and this is something I would really want as a reader.

6. Books due reminders. Again I’ve seen this elsewhere and it’s something that would make a difference to forgetful folk like me! Email or SMS acceptable.

What would make a difference to you?

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3 responses to “If I didn’t work here…

  1. A simple welcome message – “Hello Michael” – would be nice. It’s not really particularly 2.0, but it would make me feel much more welcome!

    I’d add a feed for different subjects – either DDC numbers or LCSH headings – to your RSS list. I’m not convinced that a lot of our users are into RSS yet, but it’s growing. I’m trying to convert some of our managers to it…

    Dunno about ILLs – it’s an expensive business. I guess you’d have to include some wording to the effect that ILLs cost money and you promise to cough up by clicking on the “Submit” button.

    We’ve got a “Suggest new item” form, which I like. If the book you want isn’t in stock, stick the bib details in and we’ll buy it. I think you get the first reservation on it when it arrives as well, but I could be wrong.

    And as for reminders – great idea. We do SMS notification for reservations awaiting collection, and for overdues as well. We’re trialling email notification too, which has a lot of potential. A pre-overdue notice – “Get your books back by Thursday, or else!” – would be very handy indeed. Come to think of it, I’m sure I’ve got some books due back by tomorrow…

  2. Hello Michael!
    I think personalised options are what people are starting to expect from websites. Not just the obvious websites like MySpace and Facebook but Amazon wishlists and even the BBC remembering where I live!

    I like your suggestion of a subject feed. I believe we’re retrospectively adding subjects to our catalogue at the moment so I’m stealing this for my wishlist too!

    I know the reminders are possible because we get reminders from some academic libraries for ILLs we have borrowed from them and they are the standard automated emails that go out to their users. I really like the idea of helping readers to avoid incurring fines and I think this is something that would make forgetful folk like me very happy!

    We currently use email notification for reservations and for overdues and are planning to introduce online ILL requests by the end of the year. They should work the same way as current online reservations so you would need a borrower number and PIN to place the request and the ILL charge gets added to the account. Expect some posts on how well it’s working once it goes live :O)

  3. And, as if by magic, I forgot to renew my books yesterday. If only the LMS had reminded me…

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