QOTD: hiding things on the library website

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Libraries struggle with how to present multiple digital materials on their websites. Here is The Oldie magazine on the rewards and frustrations of using public library websites.

First, get to know the catalogue; the entire regional catalogue is available for you to look at from home. You can search for a book, tape, CD or video by author, subject or title. That in itself is not too amazing, but the best bit is that you can then reserve the book and have it delivered to the closest library to you. They will send you an email when it is there, and off you go. Excellent. You can renew your books online, too. Secondly (and this is the fantastic bargain I mentioned), most libraries now offer the most wonderful opportunities for using the finest reference books online. It’s an astonishing resource, but none of them, in my experience, promote it for what it is: the best new service to their customers for years and years….

This is a remarkable deal, and it should be headline news. But most libraries seem shy about it, and make the service hard to find on their website, sometimes very hard. It’s a disgrace.

For example, Norfolk call the section `Online Subscriptions’, Essex call it `Answers direct’, Manchester has `24-hour library’ and Leeds only mention it in passing on their catalogue page. My own library (Suffolk) has it hidden away under a small link called `Cyber-library’, of all things. [The Oldie – SUPERBYWAYS]

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