Michigan’s Kent District has a whopping eighteen(!) branch library locations. My, that’s a lot of patrons. Web logs are one way in which the libraries are appealing to varied information needs of Kent residents.
Finding the KDL web logs from the libraries homepage is quite easy. A few clicks of the mouse on the subject headings listed at the top of the page show that there are four blogs at KDL: Books & More, Events, Parents & Kids, and Teens. The only ‘hitch’ is that the links are listed at the bottom of the page and require the user to scroll down in order to select them. Depending on one’s screen-size or settings, it would be easy to miss the links to the KDL blog sites; moving these to the index listed to the left (KDL tech support, that’s your cue!) could easily rectify this, though.
Generally, the KDL blogs would be easy for someone unfamiliar with weblogs, but with basic knowledge of computers, to use. Like the Ann Arbor District Libraries, KDL provides helpful explanations for some of the tools available through its site. For example, a ‘What’s this?’ link is given next to the RSS icon on the ‘Books & More,’ ‘Events,’ ‘Parents & Kids,’ ‘Teens’ pages. The definition is clear, and easy to understand: “So, what does RSS mean to you? RSS allows users the ability to track all of the news items that interest them.”
The KDL web logs are a good fit with other services offered by the tech-savvy library. In addition to RSS, the library uses other social networking tools like Facebook and offers eAudiobooks for Microsoft Zune through the OverDrive Virtual Library.
The librarian/contributors to the KDL blogs seem to view social software as a means for promoting in-house services. For example, on November 12 2008 DDonnell wrote:
“Teen Librarians are asking, “Where’s the love?” KDL’s Teen Surveys reveal that very few of you come to the library to seek the help of a librarian. But we love you guys…really. And we want to help you find stuff for homework and fun reading.”
At KDL, technology is a bridge between, rather than a substitute for, virtual and traditional library services.
Were I a KDL patron, I would definitely frequent the libraries’ blogs. The KDL web logs are different from many of the others explored by Librarian-In-Waiting for the simple fact that they are updated regularly. (At the time of writing, there were already multiple same-day posts on such topics as ‘Wordless Books Make Great Stories’ and “Paint a Bowl for Soup’s On For All” (See Parents & Kids)). Its currency, combined with usability, findability, and quality content–what more could a user ask for, I wonder?