Penn Libraries

Penn Libraries

Penn Libraries

What kind of Library 2.0 services are offered at Penn Libraries? From looking at the home page of the Penn Libraries website, it is clear that the organization values their ability to offer various ways to contact their reference librarians. A large icon with the words “IM, Text, Chat” across it is visible at the top right of the page, and takes the user to a dedicated page listing all of the options to speak to a librarian. Among the options are the standard IM clients (Google Talk, MSN, Yahoo), alongside a phone number to send text messages to, as well as an email link. Interestingly, clicking on another link in the top left of the page to see online hours, brings up another substantially similar page. On this next page, all of the same contact options are listed again, but extra information like reference hours and links to library directories is also included. It seems strange that they would not make this second page the default, but regardless, I appreciate the spacing and aesthetic value of the page.

Penn Libraries IM page

Penn Libraries Contact Page

The home page also has a small link to the RSS feed for Events at the library, below a listing of News updates. It is an interesting distinction; while most other libraries seem to combine the two concepts of “News” and “Events” into one, and often provide some kind of RSS feed for them, Penn Libraries separates the two and only provides a feed for “Events”. This makes both the News and Events a little more unappealing, because the distinction is unclear and deciding what kind of information is found under each category requires unnecessary effort.

Penn Libraries is also meeting users on their mobile devices by providing a mobile website. This simplified site features large, attractive icons (taking a cue from Apple’s icon designs) that link to mobile services. Some of these icons tie directly back into the library’s other 2.0 services; these include a page listing librarian contact options and others that allow searching of the catalog from the mobile phone. It’s clear that time and thought went into the design of the mobile site, as it’s not just a smaller version of the library’s website.

Like many other academic libraries, Penn Libraries also maintains a Facebook page, which is another platform to keep library users up to date on library services and events. Unfortunately, this Facebook presence is not advertised on the library home page, and thus might be missing out on potential exposure.

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