24 November, 2008

Customer satisfaction survey

Every year Yarra Plenty, along with other regional libraries in Victoria, commissions a telephone survey of users and non users by Nexus Research. The survey now has been going for a number of years and provides good longitudinal data for our planning and evaluation of library services.

1,800 people were interviewed this year, 300 from Yarra Plenty region. 46% have visited a library over the past year, which is a decline from previous years. 30 - 44 year old females are the highest users of public libraries and males in this age group are also the biggest male adult users. The most common reasons given by people who don't use the library is that they are too busy, that they don't read much and they have no need.

The average importance rating of public libraries on a scale from 1 - 10 was a score of 9.3. This increases to 9.6 amongst those who have visited a public library within the last 12 months and still averages 8.7 amongst those who have never used a public library.

Staff courtesy and helpfulness are rated as the most important aspect of the library, followed by staff knowledge, ease of locating a book or information and range and quality of books.

It is very pleasing that our latest figures on user satisfaction reflect an improvement over the last years with a score of 8.7. Staff courtesy and helpfulness and presentation of the library building rate highest for us. There has been an encouraging increase in satisfaction with the internet, website and computer availability. Events and activities have also shown a good increase in satisfaction levels.

Overall the main area that needs to be improved is the range and quality of AV materials.
If you would like to give your impressions of the library service, please feel free to comment on this blog.

19 November, 2008

Libraries and digital futures

Yesterday I attended a seminar at the National Library of Australia on Broadband, libraries and creating Australia's digital culture, presented by Charles Sturt University, the National Library and the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA)

The seminar featured a number of very interesting speakers, particularly Prof Trevor Barr from Swinburne University of Technology, who spoke about the National Broadband Tender to be announced by the Federal Government in early 09. He outlined possible outcomes of the tender, which is worth $4.6 billion from the government and a further $5 - 9 billion from the preferred fibre network operator. He spoke about the central issue being what services will be offered on the new broadband and will they justify the return on investment, as there is no white paper that describes how the network will be used and what services it will provide. His view is that Telstra is the likely provider as there is no other entity able to roll out such infrastructure.

Peter Adams from CSU presented the results of a household survey that showed that most people who want broadband already have it and most do not see the need for more bandwidth than they have. My view is that once people have very fast connections they will appreciate the extra services and more applications will be found.

Debbie Campbell from the National Library described some of the initiatives the library is undertaking to create digital cultural resources, and in particular talked about Picture Australia and Libraries Australia, two world class projects that make many resources available to everyone. The NLA is working on a new portal that will bring a number of their projects together and it all sounds very exciting.

Laura Simons is the Executive Officer of Australian Digital Alliance and she spoke about some changes to copyright law - it is now legal to copy a tv show or record a song from the radio for your own use - its taken a while for the law to catch up with consumer practice!!

I spoke about public libraries and digital futures and how despite the increasing role of online information sources, libraries are still being built. I described the Amsterdam and Delft libraries and Library10 and Meetingpoint@Lasipalatsi in Helsinki as examples of where public libraries are heading. I also talked about our Web 2.0 initiatives.

It was an interesting and useful seminar, and provided some good updates on what is happening.

10 November, 2008

Helsinki Libraries

Helsinki is a charming city, it puts me in mind of a small Melbourne, with the green and gold trams, a wide main boulevard reminiscent of St Kilda Rd, and some lovely old buildings. Helsinki was our second stop on the Great Library Tour, and we visited Sello Library, just out of Helsinki, which I wrote about last week. We also visited 2 libraries that belong to Helsinki City - and they look a lot different from our normal concept of what a library is.

Library 10 is a combination of two libraries - a technology/internet library and a music library. The Cable Book Library was the first public internet library in the world, and attracted great attention in the 90s when it was set up. It grew and evolved and in order to meet demand, moved into larger premises with the music library to become Library 10. This library is situated right in the middle of town, in the old Post Office building and is open from 10am to 10pm. It is a place where people create content, meet, listen to music and borrow books. There is a music studio, a radio station, musical instruments for loan, a stage for performances and books, cds and dvds for loan.

Meetingpoint@lasipalatsi is an information desk for internet services and technology – run by the library. It provides courses and information session, employment and recruitment services, workspaces with multimedia workstations, and WiFi. There is even a laptop doctor who will fix your laptop for free.

These 2 libraries are pushing the boundaries in defining what a public library is. They are very popular, they are informing, connecting and learning places highly appreciated by users.