The Mount Prospect Public Library launched a completely redesigned website last week. The site at www.mppl.org features significant updates to content and enhanced search capabilities that deliver quicker and easier access to library resources.
"Our goal was to create a virtual experience that replicates the experience patrons have when they visit the library," says Cathy Deane, deputy director for public service at the library. "We wanted users to be able to navigate the site easier, find information faster, and expand upon the idea of our library as a 24/7 experience."
The library's website receives between 50,000 and 60,000 visits each month. An upgraded navigation tool known as "hovering," or rolling a cursor over a web link, allows users to explore the site more efficiently.
"Rather than having to click multiple times, you can simply hover over the menu and all of the choices appear," explains Tim Loga, head of computer services. "We've flattened out the site so that it is much easier to find information with fewer clicks."
Another timesaving tool is the option to establish a MyMPPL account. This new, customized account provides patrons access to lLibrary web resources with only one sign-in and allows users to post comments on blogs. Additionally, the MyMPPL account creates a personalized dashboard for users to track their library usage 24/7.
"The advantage of creating a MyMPPL account is that it allows users to move around the website accessing all of MPPL's resources and databases without having to stop and re-enter information," said Chris Amling, library webmaster and designer of the new site. "Users can also manage what they have checked out or renew materials all through their MyMPPL account. This is a built-in option for a one-stop shop."
Once patrons create a MyMPPL account, they can further enhance this one-stop shop experience by establishing a Family Account. The Family Account builds upon the convenience of entering information a single time by allowing a user to add up to three additional library cards. Information on up to four accounts is then linked and displayed making it easy to keep track of multiple users.
"It used to be that if you wanted to see if your kids' books or video games were overdue, you had to log out of your account and log into each of theirs separately, which means you had to have all their bar codes and pins handy," Amling explains. "With the Family Account you only have to enter that information once, and it will appear on your dashboard allowing you to see and renew for all of them from one screen."
Other dynamic changes to the site include fresh content and enhanced interactive capabilities. The most-immediate information on library news and events is prominently displayed on the home page, along with staff blogs. The main page is also home to a new, visual gallery of "featured" materials: Featured Books, Featured DVDs, Featured Music, Featured Audiobooks, Featured for Kids, and Featured for Teens. These allow users to instantaneously tap into the latest recommendations by staff.
"The idea is to have our information professionals, whether reference librarians or readers' advisers, select materials to highlight on the main page and to offer it in an immediate and visual way," Loga says. "Every time you visit, the information will be different."
"People always tell us how much they love visiting the library," Amling says. "Our goal was to provide them with that same positive experience online."