On July 5, 2005, we launched a new website. Over the past two years the website has done its job in expected and unexpected ways. Our top priority was to develop a web presence that was organized, dynamic, and accessible. Judging by the numbers, and the feedback from our users, we did just that. Below are a few stats that we are proud to share:
• Out of approximately 46,000 active cardholders, 32,979 are registered aadl.org users
• Growth is steady with an average of 2,000 new users per month
• 10,900 comments on posts made by aadl.org users
• 12,000+ comments received from users and added to our online comment database
• 298 reviews and ratings on items in the catalog since January ‘07
• 2,183 patron contributed tags on items in the catalog since January ‘07
• 6,246 saved catalog cards, and 3,544 comments on catalog cards since December, ‘05
In June 2007, a typical month for us, aadl.org had 162,409 visits from 56,036 unique visitors, during which 3,446,096 webpages were served. In fiscal year 06/07 we served 44,522,045 pages during 1,898,605 visits.
Are we proud? Yes, we are! We are serving most of our cardholders and from most accounts serving them well from aadl.org.
There has been another major benefit to the library in Ann Arbor and to the library profession worldwide, that was unexpected, but one that is a hallmark of great change in how public institutions communicate to their supporters and users. Using Drupal software allows us to blog and provides a dynamic website that is responsive to changes in technology. We took this as an opportunity to make the library and all of its operations and services transparent in ways that no other library in the country had done, and few are doing now. We commonly receive emails from around the world such as this one from a university professor in Berlin, "It may please you to know that the AA Public Library is well known even here in Germany for its innovative work. I have students who mention it regularly in connection with Web 2.0".
We trust our staff, and we know that when we expect the best of people that is usually what we get. Allowing staff to post in an unmoderated fashion has worked well and they produce great content. We have had only one incident of profanity posted on the site by a patron and that was during the first quarter after launch. We post all comments from patrons and our responses directly on the site in a searchable database. 96 staff members have contributed unmoderated posts and content to the site. Our rules are simple. Keep it factual, simple, direct and about library related business.
Aadl.org has been a major success in the library world. We are proud of the awards that AADL has received for the design and functionality of the site. We are proud of the critical acclaim received from our colleagues from around the world about the philosophy of social computing adopted by AADL, but we are most proud of the support from so many AADL cardholders expressed in the astonishingly high use of the site.