Monday, June 11, 2007

Library Reviews: Denver Public Library

Some observations from viewing the websites for the suggested libraries:

Denver Public Library:
I really liked their Kids page, Wonder Web, although when I first tried the kid search, it returned an error. After another few tries, it worked. They seem to be using a product from TLC, Carl. I's quite kid-friendly in appearance. They had great graphics on the kids page, bright colors, good categorization. The podcasts are a good idea (Beatrix Potter stories, songs, interviews), some great weblinks to games and other sites, and a nice "write your own book review" feature that can tie to the catalog.

I also like the "Downloadable Media Site", although that is a clunky name. There seems to be some confusion as to what to call this stuff- Berkeley Public Library refers to it as "online resources" (which category also includes online databases, and eBooks are not easy to find as a category), PLCMC calls it "Digital Media Downloads", and has a prominent link to the page from the home page which is good. This nomenclature is not very user-friendly and might be confusing and off-putting to patrons.

DPL's "e-center" does have a nice menu, though, and clearly separates eFlicks, eBooks, eAudiobooks, and further classifies some as most recent, always available, children and teens. They also provide clear help instructions (although I think a patron has to be somewhat tech-savvy to attempt the downloads).

Although I mostly like the home page, I am not sure I agree that one third of it should be devoted to Live News Feeds, particularly since they are national news feeds rather than local. Their menu opens from the side, which can be somewhat annoying as it blocks the middle column if your mouse strays over there, but it's a good menu- logical and thorough.

Another cool feature is the downloadable toolbar- I would be interested to know how many patrons actually download this. Also liked the bottom row with four interactive options: bookmark, newsletter, comments and donate.

On the whole, a clean, useful "well-lighted" website.

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