Park City Library has a three-year strategic plan that focuses on user experience, inclusivity, community relationships, and lifelong learning. The Library has defined the user experience goals as developing and maintaining an efficient, welcoming, and dynamic library staff, facility, and resources. This blog post summarizes the Library’s work for the 2022 user experience goal of refining user experience. The Library’s next user experience goals will be to evaluate service hours (2023 goal) and to perform a 10-year facility analysis (2024 goal).
Defining User Experience
User experience is a newer term that focuses on the need for businesses and institutions to be ever-evolving and improving to continuously meet the needs of their users. The library staff decided that improving user experience at the Park City Library was a necessity and that it should be one of the goals for fiscal year 2022. Throughout the past year, the library staff has taken many different steps to improve user experience at the Park City Library, as well as request feedback from our community.
Throughout the Summer of 2021, all Park City Library staff went on tours of the new Kearns Library branch in the Salt Lake County Library System and the newly remodeled Sprague Branch of the Salt Lake City Library System. The staff went to these libraries prepared with a set of questions and thought-provoking statements to consider while observing service models, resources, and experiences at the other libraries. Throughout these tours, staff took notes, pictures, asked questions, and learned about new library trends. The staff brought back many different ideas to Park City, and some have already been implemented.
As a result of these trips, the staff decided to simplify our self-pickup hold process by no longer wrapping the holds and just hiding the titles to maintain the users’ privacy. In addition, we started posting our daily programs on a whiteboard at our Information Desk, so it is visible upon arrival at the library. This past year the library has also implemented a tool and seed library available for checkout that contains all items needed to start a garden. Soon the library property will house a bike repair kit near the bike racks, for the community to use.
Love Letters & Break Up Letters
In February 2022, the library had a Love Your Library display where customers were encouraged to write a “love letter” or “breakup letter” to the library. This encouraged customers to write personal notes telling us how they feel about library services. The results were overwhelmingly positive and supportive of the library. The few negative comments we received were items that we were already working on (such as heat in the Study Rooms) or easy fixes that we could implement.
We had 87 people participate in Love Your Library by leaving comments, love letters, and a couple of breakup letters. Some of the comments we received:
- Thank you for being my go-to office on the go! You never seem to tire of me asking for a “private room upstairs” and I appreciate you being so welcoming and kind #bestlibraryever! (Letter)
- I love all your hard-working Librarians. Libraries give me access to so many books. (Social)
- “I love visiting the guinea pigs ♥♥♥”
- “Thank you for all of the kid’s resources! We love coming here every day!”
- “I love the library! The sledding is amazing!! :D”
- “3D printers working please.”
- Please get the heat back to Study Rooms
- Would love to see the WSJ back My sweet Dad who is not on Insta misses it. (SOCIAL Media)
Throughout the year, library staff engages in staff meetings and trainings to better serve the community. This year, we emphasized user experience and benefited from various discussions that valued all employees’ input – from the front line, part-time staff to our director.
In addition, the Library sent three librarians to the biannual Public Library Association Conference in Portland, Oregon to bring back new and trending ideas. The library also has a close connection with the Utah Library Association, and our own Becca Lael was the chair of the annual conference this year. Attending conferences or watching webinars gives staff a chance to hear about new trends, see how other libraries handle difficult issues, and helps to spark new ideas to bring back to our own library.