Magazine article Computers in Libraries

In the Public Library, It's All about the User

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

In the Public Library, It's All about the User

Article excerpt

As a librarian in a public library, I have observed that my colleagues are struggling to define the role of the public library in an increasingly wired world. They worry that the public library will seem irrelevant. The users of the public library are diverse; therefore, their needs are hard to identify. They range in age from preschoolers to the elderly, have varying amounts of education and access to technology, and in many communities are culturally diverse with different perspectives and expectations of the public library. How can a librarian in a public library provide a good experience for all users so that they view the library as valuable personally and return frequently because it meets their needs?

'Review: Library E-Books Easier, but Still Hassle'--Yahoo! News

This article, by Associated Press technology writer Peter Svensson, might be difficult for librarians in public libraries to read, but this review of ebook lending from the perspective of a user makes an important point: The systems used in many public libraries are not user-friendly. I found the author's conclusion particularly disheartening: "So we're probably stuck with what we have: a system where you can trade the time it takes to learn the system for free e-books. It's not great, but it's free." Surely, we can do better.

'A User Experience Primer'

This blog posting by Cecily Walker first appeared in the Feliciter, the magazine of the Canadian Library Association, and offers an introduction to the concept of user experience, referred to as UX, as a design methodology that can be used to help librarians "understand how our patrons use the services we offer, and how they integrate them into their daily lives ... [to] help patrons process, absorb, and derive meaning from the content we provide." She draws a clear distinction between usability, which focuses on the user's ability to complete a task, and user experience, which focuses on creating something of value to the user.

Garrett's State of User Experience

Jesse James Garrett, the author of The Elements of User Experience--User Centered Design for the Web, gave this speech at UX Week, a training seminar from Adaptive Path. …

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