ULC Award for Skokie Realignment

Just a quick post. If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to during the first 8 months of my new job, read the description of this ULC (Urban Libraries Council) award the library received recently. Our organizational realignment, still in progress, is the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of dedicated people!

An ambitious new strategic plan, adopted in May 2013 around core values of access, learning, and community involved much discussion about evolving roles for the public library. The plan led to a major organizational re-alignment and shift in staff responsibilities to better support values and strategic goals for community service.

Libraries as Public Spaces

Just watched this great TED talk and wanted to share it:

Love how Amanda Burden ends her talk.

Public spaces have power. It’s not just the number of people using them, it’s the even greater number of people who feel better about their city just knowing that they are there. Public space can change how you live in a city, how you feel about a city, whether you choose one city over another, and public space is one of the most important reasons why you stay in a city.

As I listened to her talk about the power of public spaces, I found myself inserting the word “libraries” in place of “public spaces.”

Libraries have power. It’s not just the number of people using them, it’s the even greater number of people who feel better about their city just knowing that they are there. Libraries can change how you live in a city, how you feel about a city, whether you choose one city over another, and a library is one of the most important reasons why you stay in a city.

In my opinion one of the best things that can happen in a community is a revitalized library space. I experienced that first hand going through the remodel at Arlington Heights Memorial Library, so I love seeing it happen at other neighboring libraries like Niles Public Library and Barrington Area Library. Inspiring!

Google Business Photos Update

Recently, I wrote a post about our Google Business Photos project, which gives people an opportunity to have a look around the library and discover what we have to offer. Since then I found spots on our website where it makes sense to have certain points within the tour embedded. That’s worked out well and I also added a sidebar block on certain pages with links to take people to different parts of the building. Take a look at our hours/location page to see what I mean.

One thing I’ve been waiting for is for the invitation to “See Inside” the library to show up on the knowledge graph profile when someone searches for “arlington heights library” (without quotes). Initially, when the tour was uploaded by our photographer, it didn’t show up but now it does. I have a feeling it has to do with claiming ownership of the Google+ Local page and filling in more details. Whatever the reason, the fact that people now see this invitation when searching for us is huge. The chances of someone discovering us for the first time or re-discovering us after some time away is greater now that they can not only visit our website but see our recently renovated spaces.

see inside

 

Are there any other libraries looking into Google Business Photos and improving what shows up in their knowledge graph profile? I’d love to hear more about your experience.

What Does the Customer Say?

I might’ve been the last person on earth to hear about the video that asks the truly profound question, “What Does the Fox Say?”

Well, my (current) library just put up a testimonials page that answers the slightly more important question, “What Does the Customer Say?”  Designed by my talented colleague, Brian, the page features some pretty cool stories of how the library is making a difference in people’s lives. Customers can also submit their own stories online and they may end up featured in our print newsletter and website.

AHML Testimonials screenshot

On a side note, it’s a good feeling that all four stories featured thus far involve the work of Digital Services Group! Go team!

Curious to hear about other ways libraries are telling their stories. Leave a comment if you’ve got something!