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Tuesday, 19th September 2017

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Neill Public Library News

Neill Public Library is embarking on a journey to enhance your experience at the library. As our community grows and changes so do the service expectations of our users.  Providing you with an excellent library experience requires mindfulness and continual evaluation on our part.  With generous financial support from the Friends of Neill Public library, we’ll be working with a consultant next year to evaluate and improve our processes and systems to make it easier and more intuitive for you to use the library. 

At its core, the user experience is about how customers feel while they are using a product or service. Do they feel cared for or ignored? Can they conduct their business easily or do parts of the process leave them feeling confused or frustrated? Less than desired feelings are indicators for improvement in the user experience.

Opportunities for improvements can be easy to spot when you’re listening to your customers.  We’ve already implemented some great changes based on your feedback.  Taking your cues, we have simplified the printing process and lowered the cost of printing, resulting in happier, less confused and frustrated patrons. Also in response to your feedback, we have simplified the process of using our public computers, resulting in a significant increase in total computer usage without long wait times for patrons. 

Some opportunities are easy to identify but difficult to fix. Providing a useful and useable web user experience is a priority, but it can be prohibitively expensive. Many users have very high expectations for web design but don’t always realize the Amazons and Googles of the world employ thousands of software engineers to deliver an outstanding user experience - and even then there are plenty of errors. 

At the library we are (very) aware of some of the shortcomings of our online presence. But finding the resources to address those problems is not so easy.   We continue to look at new options, and frankly, by providing our feedback as users, we do our best to pressure some of our IT vendors to create a better user experience for us and for you - hopefully without raising their prices.

Sometimes, the outcome of user experience improvements is difficult to predict in advance. In January, we restored our hours of operation, and while some may not think of this as a “user experience” improvement, it certainly is. With more accessible hours, we have seen a substantial increase in library use and gained new patrons as a result.  While statistics and data were heavily employed to create the new schedule, it was impossible to fully know in advance how user behavior would actually respond to this change.  Happily, the outcome has been extremely favorable and judging by patron feedback, is an enormous improvement in a library user’s experience.

Over the coming year, we will continue to identify and implement library service enhancements.  We invite you to participate in this process by sharing your ideas and input with us along the way. 

Joanna Bailey
Director, Neill Public Library
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