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Tales from a Web Librarian

NYPL is Transforming Public Service

As the largest public library system in the world (over 90 branches throughout the 5 boroughs), NYPL has quite a community to serve. Balancing the wants and needs of 6 million patrons can't be easy, but NYPL president and CEO Tony Marx sees this is as a huge opportunity for growth and advancement, both in offered resources and community engagement. And while they continue to deliver traditional services to their patrons, NYPL is actively listening and responding to the greater needs of the community with technology-ridden and educationally focused classes and resources. Programs like free ESL classes, citizenship prep, after-school programs, and coding class are all being offered around NYC for those who wish to take them (and they fill up fast!). Almost 3 million people in NYC do not have access to the internet. But NYPL saw this deficiency and responded by creating a program that lends hotspots to patrons (you may remember my Visualized).

Marx says that "in poorer neighborhoods, the library is the place for people to go, where people find essentials that may be missing at home: quiet, air conditioning, books, and computer access."

With this in mind, I wonder what essentials our patrons are missing and how we can fill this gap. What are people searching for when they come to the Gottesman Libraries? Is it tranquility? Research space? Computers? Are they here to use the printers or scan pages from a book? Do they just want to read the newspapers and leave?

Perhaps they want a more intuitive library website or maybe they want to digitally browse our subbasement archives...Or understand how to find items on PK [or maybe I just want these things ;) ]

In what ways do you think we can measure patron satisfaction? And how might we continue to innovate our services without neglecting the present needs of our users?