aadl.org is Two!

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.

Josie

Comments

This website has been invaluable to me. The New Items list and the ability to request holds from home are wonderful. Also great is the ability to renew online. Thanks for making my book search so much more rewarding!


Thank you for letting us know, and I am very glad that the site works so well for you.

Josie


Here here! There are so many things I like about this website. Far too many to mention, but here's the latest.
Yesterday I was at Main, and remembered that my husband had finished his latest Carol O'Connell mystery. However, when trying to select another book by the same author, there were several titles and I couldn't remember what he had and hadn't read. I thought I'd have to go home empty-handed, until I remembered that I could view my "check-out history" (I'm the family librarian). Voila! That showed me the titles of all O'Connell's books that I had previously checked out.
Thanks for keeping this site alive and kicking.


You are welcome, and I remember my days as "family librarian". Watch out, you may find yourself a library director someday. :)

Josie


congratulations! you guys are doing a terrific job - between the online catalog, renewals, RSS / e-mail hold and return notifications, blogs, and all the other well-considered amenities, the site has made a major impact on my use of library resources and services. thank you!

now if only i could link my Amazon wishlist to my AADL account, and automatically see if books/CDs/DVDs there are available from the library (without a Greasemonkey plugin or something), i'd be in library heaven. :-)


Josie,

Congratulations on the two-year anniversary of your website! I think you are clearly going in the right direction with your "philosophy of social computing". I am particularly pleased that you are openly posting patron comments and responses, and that this feature is something that you are proudly pointing to within, and receiving recognition from, the profession. Whoever originated this idea certainly deserves our gratitude, as does the library for implementing it.

As community connectivity goes increasingly electronic, and as media continue to become more digitized, I am sure that your website increasingly will be a focus of the library's efforts and resources. The library now provides a physical space for people to interact with meetings and events, and the website now also provides a forum for people to share reviews, comments, ratings, and tags; this is bound to expand, and one next step, inevitably, is to provide an electronic means for people to contact each other. For example, I have looked at a large number of community and governmental websites and there are some that have provisions for users to post email addresses and hyperlinks. However, while I have found a very large number of libraries that run book groups by organizing and publicizing meetings that are run by the library itself, usually in a library building, I have never found a library that enables readers to get in touch directly with their counterparts. For example, the proper type of utility would allow, not just twenty people to meet at place x to discuss book y as overseen by the library, but anyone to state a book, an interest, a continuing or one-time study, or a new or pre-existing group, and recruit others for a shared reading experience.

I know from personal experience that there is considerable interest in shared reading but that it is difficult to find others to share. I think the library has at least some residual role to play as guardian and promoter of reading culture, and I think this is an area where the AADL could once again be in the forefront of innovation in library community services.

Regards,

Bill Vanden Broek


Mr. Vanden Broek,

All I can say at the moment is "Stay Tuned"! That is the type of reading group I would be able to attend and while we have thought of it, we are still thinking through the details of how to make it happen. I appreciate your thorough and positive reflection on what we are doing at AADL today, and what possibilities you see for us in the future.

Josie


Thanks dugsong, and don't give up on the possibility of a library heaven. You never know....:)

Josie


Hey dug -

Jon Udell wrote some sample Amazon-to-library-lookup software here -

http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2006/01/26.html#a1377

it's a python thing that emits an RSS feed of books in your wishlist that are available at the library. A starting point for an idea of how to do this, I guess, and some sample code.

Edward Vielmetti


Thanks, Ed.

Josie


I'm thrilled with AADL's web services. I particularly like the hold management features and the ability to interact directly with the MEL interlibrary loan. As a "knowledge professional" and small businessman I feel tremendously empowered by this fantastic Ann Arbor asset.


We are thrilled, too. Thanks for the positive reinforcement, and I am glad that you mentioned your profession in your response.

Josie


Hi Josie! Now that I am in Chicago, I take special pride whenever I hear AADL mentioned in the greater library world. Congratulations on your success and all best wishes.

Deb Bacon-Ziegler


Thanks, Deb. We miss you in MI.

Josie