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Friday, October 12, 2007

"What's new? How is the world treating you...?"

Perhaps it is bad form to use a song lyric from 1939 to introduce some new online services at the library - but every time I tour around our cool "What's New" pages, that song pops into my head.

You may have noticed the "What's New" graphic on our home page. You may also have received a postcard at home, inviting you to give these new services a test drive.
This project was made possible by a grant awarded by the Illinois State Library (ISL), a Division of the Office of Secretary of State, using funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), under the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).

That grant money went toward software, equipment and staff hours to design services that allow you, our patrons, to find the latest and greatest in the library with a simple click or two - hence the title, "One-Click Searches." The staff members involved in the project also created short, fun tutorials to walk you through the process of finding specific types of materials from the library's Web site. The tutorials focus on finding audiobooks, movies, online magazine articles and reference books, as well as providing instructions on renewing library materials online. You can find them in the "How Do I...?" section of the "What's New" site. Another new service is our "Staff Picks" database, where you can search book reviews written by library staff and find your next favorite read. You can search "Staff Picks" by author, title, genre, library staff names or find the most recently added books, and the database can be found in the Readers' Services section of our Web site as well as the "What's New" section.

We've been overwhelmed, in a happy way, by the response to these new services so far, response we've been assessing through some online surveys included in the "What's New" section. The comments you've sent in, both positive and negative, will help us shape and refine these services. One thing you might like to know about the "Staff Picks" database: each review lists, right at the top, who the "reviewer" is (i.e. which library staff person wrote the review). If you find someone whose taste coincides with your own, then search for that person in the "Reviewer" section. Your other suggestions, such as defining each genre more fully and providing tutorials on advanced searching, will definitely go on our "to do" list. We'll keep adding to the "One-Click Searches," too -- if you don't see a topic of interest to you now (although we think it's a pretty wide list!), check back soon.

Explore "What's New" and then fill out a survey or two - you might just win an iPod Shuffle.

Curious? Click here to visit "What's New" right now.

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