Boston Public Library
Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Posts Tagged ‘E-books’

Strategic Plan Implementation: Community Gathering

Posted on November 2nd, 2014 by admin in Outcomes, Strategic Plan

bpl-compass-report-cover-200The Community Gathering principle is fulfilled in a variety of ways by working to serve and sustain communities through fostering thinking and learning via an engaging online presence.

Increase access to e-books and other digital content: streaming video, music, and audiobooks became available to BPL users in March 2014. The service proved immediately popular as evidenced by an approximately 20% increase in eCard registrations for several weeks after the announcement of the new service.

Implement new technologies: a new staff intranet was released in November 2013. The intranet uses the content management system Drupal as its framework and allows appropriate staff to publish content for the internal community to find, reference, and use without specialized coding skills. After a year of use by the staff, interviews, surveys, and analytics will be gathered to determine successes and failures of the project that will inform future projects, such as the redesign of public-facing web services.

Website redesign: A steering committee has been formed and a broader advisory committee will be convened, made up of representatives from many departments of the library to analyze, prioritize, and review the breadth of online properties that deliver BPL services. Deliverables include a project plan for the remainder of FY 2015 for redesign of bpl.org among other possible improvements to online properties.

Strategic Plan Implementation: Sustainable Organization

Posted on October 29th, 2014 by admin in Outcomes, Strategic Plan

bpl-compass-report-cover-200As part of the Sustainable Organization principle, one of the library’s outcomes is to work with other libraries and related organizations to contribute to the future of librarianship. ReadersFirst and Library Simplified are two international initiatives that the BPL has been involved with since their inceptions. ReadersFirst is an organization of nearly 300 library systems representing 200 million readers dedicated to ensuring that library users have the same free and easy access to e-books that they have come to rely on with physical books. As a founding member of ReadersFirst, the BPL continues to serve on the ReadersFirst Leadership Group. In January 2013, ReadersFirst published the Guide to Library E-Book Vendors. The guide informs libraries about different e-book vendors by rating vendors in variety of different categories. Some categories include: the ability to suspend a hold, format availability, and vendor compatibility with ILS/ discovery systems like Polaris and Bibliocommons. Current projects include an updated version of the guide and a website redesign. For more about ReadersFirst or to read the guide, visit readersfirst.org.

The BPL is a partner institution in the Library Simplified project, an IMLS-funded initiative led by the New York Public Library to improve access to e-book collections through better technology and innovative lending practices. The ultimate goal of the project is to develop a mobile and tablet-based platform for e-book discovery and reading that allows users to access content in “three clicks or less.” Through partnerships with libraries across the country as well as organizations such as the Readium Foundation and the International Digital Publishing Forum, Library Simplified hopes to provide an open-source, non-commercial alternative for libraries to use to deliver e-book services. For more information, please visit www.librarysimplified.org.

Review the eight guiding principles in the Boston Public Library’s strategic plan and read the full plan, the BPL Compass.

Making E-books Easier

Posted on March 3rd, 2014 by Scot Colford in Library Services, Technology, Web Services

One of our most popular services is our e-book collection, but for many years, library users faced some unexpected complications managing the digital items they borrowed. For instance, if you wanted to search for something to read but didn’t mind whether it was in digital or physical format, you could search our online catalog. However, once you found an e-book you wanted, you would be directed to an entirely different site to check out and download the title. If you wanted to continue searching all formats, you’d have to leave the OverDrive site to switch back to the full catalog. Furthermore, you used to have to check two places if you wanted to see how your holds queues were progressing for digital and physical titles.

Considering our Compass principle of Access and Innovation, we’ve made it a priority to make the whole e-book process easier. Now, if you find a digital title in our online catalog, you can check its availability, place a hold on it, or check it out without being shuttled off to another site. Want to know what you’ve got checked out? It’s all there in the My BPL section. You can even manage all your pending holds from that same location.

e-book record

Of course, there are still some valid reasons you may want to use our OverDrive site. But even that experience has been streamlined. The new design of the OverDrive site released last month features smarter search results, lets you check out titles with fewer clicks, and even allows you to start reading immediately in your web browser. The design of the site adapts to the device you’re on as well, so you can do the same things on your smartphone as you can on your tablet or computer.

We hope you’re enjoying the improvements we’re making in our online services and we intend to keep removing as many barriers to digital access as we can.