Friday, September 14, 2007


ACT Public Library Online Information Services

The ACT Public Library’s considerable investment in the area of online information services enables it to meet the needs of its community in both diverse and relevant ways. Its library management system facilitates the incorporation of online services that are client-focused and equitable.

ACT Public Library’s philosophy that online clients should be able to accomplish the same things that, with the exception of picking up a book, a client can do when physically present in the library is commendable. Already, a substantial number of clients utilising a library’s services expect to be able to access those services from their home or work computer; this number will continue to increase over the next few years.

The library has considered its socially inclusive role when deciding to include a learning pathway in its redesigned website. This learning pathway includes Homework Help, an online real-time tutoring service; such a learning opportunity should be well-utilised by today’s student population who are well-used to working in an online environment. Other services could include workshops in the instruction of online services generally such as email, Windows, digital photography and video, e-bay, better online search strategies and online training specifically for seniors.

The provision of online service delivery can blur the geographical boundary of the library, making such a boundary potentially obsolete. The library has the opportunity to be relevant to anyone with access to its website; this digital library concept will be of benefit to those studying or unable to access a library physically. Clients with disabilities and those living in remote areas are just two sectors of the community who can benefit from this provision of online services.

Online services such as email delivery of a resource’s due date, overdue and holding notices will be valuable to clients. Clients’ access to information about library locations, services and programmes, ability to join the library online, manage their account, reserve items and search the library catalogue and databases are extremely useful tools that give clients a sense of capability and control.

These benefits of the library’s online delivery service show that client access and utilisation will enhance the library’s significance to the community it serves by offering procedures, resources and courses by diverse means.

Finally, changes in staff workloads are to be expected as client expectations and methods of accessing information change. More staff will be involved in the maintenance, management and forward planning of online services. The article indicates that ACT Public Library staff has managed increased workloads caused by online service delivery because of their eagerness to embrace and introduce new services, while reallocating existing services. This eagerness will also have contributed to a positive effect on clients regarding the benefits of the new online service delivery method.

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