Once every two years Keyll Darree Library run a user needs analysis survey. We pride ourselves on how responsive we are to feedback, and this year due to user comments we created a multi-site delivery system.
Keyll Darree Library is the only health and social care library on the Isle of Man, however our users work across the island. We cater to those who work in the community, prison, social care, and in regional practices. It can be difficult for users to access the library during staffed hours. This was highlighted in the survey and we wanted to find a solution with minimal cost implication.
Contacting the post room
Our first port of call was to contact the post room – using internal post would avoid postage cost and would also add layer of security as the books would be transported between sites by our porters. However, we had to check with the team and see if they would be willing to take part and, if so, which sites they would deliver to. Thankfully they were happy to be involved and suggested some options which covered the East and North of the Island.
We circulated the results of and actions from our user needs analysis survey and this email spurred the manager of one of the wellbeing hubs to contact us and offer to be another point for multi-site delivery in the West. The hubs were set up to allow staff to hot desk, providing fast internet connections and a space to work. They mentioned the possibility of involving the Northern and Southern ones too, and both of these sites confirmed they were willing to take part.
We had to consider a few different aspects when looking at the logistics of this plan.
- Ease for library staff – setting up as much as possible in advance meant the process would require less effort in the long run
- Ease for users – sending returns labels and asking them to reuse the envelope means they have minimal worry about how to get the book back
- Liability – we decided the user would be responsible for the book once it was on their account, and they have to agree to this before requesting items
- Ordering – we made a web form which links to the library catalogue and asked users to provide the link to the item they want to borrow, ensuring staff can see the class mark and availability quickly
- Location – one of the locations did not have a post room and therefore items can only be sent there if there is a specific office for them to go to, they could not be collected by external staff
Before launching the new offsite delivery option, we wanted to ensure that it worked. We sent books to each of the site and included return labels and instructions sets for the testers. Each book was received within a day and returned promptly. The testers gave positive feedback and did not suggest any modifications and therefore we launched the service.
We advertised the service in multiple ways – emails to all staff in Manx Care, a spot in staff signatures, posters in every location we delivered to, pop up libraries held in locations we delivered to, and it has a full page spread in every quarterly library newsletter.
Although we created the service due to demand, asked user groups what worked for them and tested the system, so far it has barely been used. We found this a little disheartening, however after promoting the service at library roadshow we have seen a slight increase in usage. Four books were loaned between February and October 2022, after the roadshow in November 2022 four books were loaned, and the service has been used twice in January 2023. We believe that direct promotion to prospective users has been beneficial to usage.
In the most recent user needs analysis we added a question to ask our users if they had ever used our offsite book delivery service. 57 respondents replied, 4 had, 20 didn't need it, but 33 wanted to! So we’re taking this as an encouraging statistic. Even if it isn’t being used heavily, users like to know they have the opportunity to do so.
So what will we do in the future? The scheme is clearly appreciated, even if it is underused. We’ll continue to advertising it and promote it to those that we think would benefit. We will also continue to add any extra locations which seem appropriate.
Overall, we will keep acting on suggestions from our users. Even though this one hasn’t been as popular as we hoped, it has been used. Lots of people see the value in it even if they aren’t actively using it.
Senior Library Assistant
Keyll Darree Library