Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:
Making the San Jose Public Library’s online catalogue more interactive for users by allowing readers to rate and review materials that they have checked out. Similar to Amazon.com’s review system, customer will be able to review materials available in SJPL’s collection. Additionally, customers will also be able to suggest other materials that are similar, encouraging patrons to refer to the catalogue when they are looking for their next read.
Customers, including myself, have felt the frustrations of being recommended or reading a review for a book, only to find that is not available in the library. Instead of scrolling through Amazon or Goodreads for reviews, why not the library website, where all materials are accessible? Currently, SJPL’s catalog does include a Goodreads rating at the bottom of the item’s page, but this rating is always 4 stars, and is often not the correct rating on Goodreads.
Same star rating hidden at the bottom of every item page.
Action Brief Statement:
Convince San Jose Public Library that by utilizing the ChiliFresh application available within the Encore catalogue and Facebook, they will see an increase of visitors on the library website, which will which will result in increased circulation and participation in library programs, because patrons will become active participants in these online social spaces and be more aware of the materials and programs being offered.
Description of Community you wish to engage:
San Jose Public Library services a population of over 1 million, and there are over 400,000 library accounts from people who live throughout California. San Jose has a diverse population, and has an expansive library collection to cater to many different languages and cultures. SJPL is also located in the heart of Silicon Valley, where many turn to tech for route home has the least amount of traffic to what they should eat for lunch.
Today, everything can be rated and reviewed online, “Whether we’re rating hotel rooms or judging other humans, there’s one certainty in this age of online reviews: Everyone’s a critic.” People enjoy recommendations, good and bad, and receiving them as well. As Visser mentioned in Inspirational Library Concepts, libraries need to “embracing change and turn it into a strength.” Additionally, as mentioned in Contagious: Why Things Catch On, people are often influenced by public opinion. The psychology of imitation, trusting the recommendation of others, from personal friends to reading reviews on yelp. By allowing patrons to review materials on the catalog, customers will then be able to use the library’s website as a on stop place for their next read.
Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:
This article from The Digital Shift contains feedback from other library systems had positive experiences when implementing services like ChiliFresh to their catalogs. Reimagining Reference in the 21st Century also contains a lot of information about the interface and features ChiliFresh uses. There is also a FAQ provided by ChiliFresh that answers many questions library systems may have about the service.
Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service:
Some of SJPL’s mission and vision include:
- Services and collections that are relevant to community needs, readily accessible, and easy to use.
- Technology that appropriately expands and enhances service.
- Timely and accurate information assistance that will inform and empower the public.
- We are a learning organization that is not afraid to change and take appropriate risks in pursuit of meeting community needs. We constantly reassess our services and methods and try to see ourselves through the public’s eyes.
Implementing a customer based review system taps into each of these goals and more.
As for usage, SJPL has an Internet Access Policy that can be used as starting point to build off of. As for guidelines on what patrons are allowed to post, Coffs Harbour City Library has their Ratings and Reviews Guide that can be referred to. Additionally, ChiliFresh contains adjustable filters depending on what kind of content and wording is acceptable for your organization. However, no filtering software is perfect. As a result, there is another setting that allows only approved content to be posted, so staff can verify whether or not a review or comment is appropriate for the website.
Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service:
While Innovative Interfaces already has review options available in their Encore system, there will be an additional cost for the service. While the price is unclear, it would be charged as an add on. Once a price is received, it can be evaluated if it fits into the current IT/Web budget, or if it is purchase that can be considered the following fiscal year. If not, can additional funds be collected through grant writing or another source. The use of staff time, once people are trained and aware of the service should be minimal. This self-service resrouce for patrons follows Michael Buckland’s Redesigning Library Services: A Manifesto, “with so much more service possible in the Electronic Library, expanded use of library service seems likely to depend more and more on facilitating self-service than on ever more one-on-one service by library staff.”
Action Steps & Timeline:
Step One: Receive estimate from Innovative Interfaces about the add on for SJPL to see if the cost is within budget or possible through a grant.
Step Two: Test ChiliFresh. Take advantage of the free 30 day trial of ChiliFresh to see if this is a service patrons would be interested in. The trial could be done with the public to get their feedback on the service. Would they use it, any suggestions for improvement, etc. Alternatively, the trial could be done by the Web Team as they test out its capabilities before the public is aware. Since there is a possibility of testingnthe service and not subscribing, this prevents patrons from getting upset that a service has been removed.
Step Three: Share results with the Library Board, including the director and division managers. Compare cost of the service to the feedback and response received.
Step Four: If approved, subscribe to the ChiliFresh service and add the new feature. Since ChiliFresh is partnered with Innovative, the addition of the review system should be quick and easy.
If there is an “no,” the alternatives would be to look into repairing the broken Goodreads rating system and making that more prevalent on an item’s catalog page. Another alternative would be to look into the pricing of SirsiDynix Social Library, which has the same capabilities as ChiliFresh’s Facebook interface, but does not include any in catalogue rating.
Step Five: Train Web Team and Staff. The Web Team will receive correspondence from ChiliFresh/innovative
Overall, the estimate and testing phase should take no longer than 1-2 months. If SJPL wishes the purchase the service, the service could remain on the website from that point on. This 2 month timeline is the quickest possibility. The longer possibility may involve waiting until the start of the next fiscal year (July) for this service to be implemented.
Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:
Depending the options chosen, the impact on staff could range from minimal to requiring extra hours for staff to review the posts. The software side will be handled by ChiliFresh, and the Web Team would learn about the options available for this service. Maintenance would be minimal, as the web team already monitors the status of the catalog. If SJPL chooses to review all posts before they go live on the website, this would become an additional duty for the Web Team, or something staff can do on rotation similar to the RefChat rotation (each branch does 1-2 hours per week) but probably not as time consuming.
Training for this Technology or Service:
Training would be done by the Web Team, who would do a couple training sessions (same information, presented at different times for choice of convenience) for clerical and full-time staff. These staff members will then outline the features to other staff members at their branch locations. This is similar to our how our summer reading challenge is broken down for staff every year. Since most staff will not be on the administrative side of ChiliFresh, the training will be short and an overview of the features.
Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service:
To highlight the reviews on our website, staff will be encouraged to showcase the reviews while showing patrons how to use the catalog. Since the star system will be prevalent, it will be hard for users to miss the feature if they are using the catalog.
To push some promotion, certain reviews written by SJPL users or staff can be printed on a small poster (11 x14) along with the star rating and a picture of the material. Below will be a note to find more book reviews and recommendations by patrons like you. These posters can be placed close to where the item would be shelved, so those browsing the library (but not using the catalog) can also learn about the service.
Since Innovative does annual billing, the evaluation will be over the course of 11 months and the decision to continue the subscription will be made before the next billing. Additionally, this gives patrons the chance to find out and become familiar with the rating system and Facebook application.
This evaluation can be quantitative, as we can review the number of hits on the library website to see if there is an increase of use, compare circulation numbers to see if there is an increase, and if more users are now accessing their accounts online with the help of the accessible Facebook app. We can also evaluate interest and shares of Facebook events, as SJPL already advertises some of their events on Facebook, but they don’t receive a lot of users clicking the “going” or “interested” button and they usually have little to no “shares.”
Coffs Harbour City Library: Ratings and Reviews
New Apps Bring OPAC Functionality to Library Facebook Pages
Reimagining Reference in the 21st Century
SJPL: Computers-Internet Access and Use Policy
The Yelp Effect: Why We Can’t Stop Ourselves From Rating Everything
Visser, J. DOK Delft, inspirational library concepts.