Aberdeen City Libraries provides exciting services across the city, with 20 service points including eight with self-service. Despite positive promotion of the self-service opportunities it was felt that users weren’t getting the best use from this service.
Prompted by the installation of new management software a campaign centred around National Library Week and the 125th Anniversary of the Central Library proved the spark that was needed to increase user activity.
The move to self-service
In 2012 Aberdeen City Libraries installed self-service with barcoding scanning and EM security. This was a slow system causing problems and inefficiencies for both staff and users. A move to RFID in 2014 saw increased self-service usage at the Central Library of up to 70-80% of the transactions but in other service areas only 50%, or even lower than 10% uptake was recorded. The RFID system 2CQR self-service kiosks, security, software and service worked well but the hangover from the barcode problems and problems with the LMS didn’t help in creating the positive desire for self-service the librarians had hoped for. With each self-service kiosk having independent software the library staff were also finding lack of administrative control an issue.
2CQR, the self-service solution supplier have always worked closely with Aberdeen and were aware of some of the issues they were having. Although the librarians were happy with the existing software, 2CQR offered to update their kiosks to Librid software. This product offers a central management system and provides reports and statistical information that can help library staff resolve issues with the kiosks.
Aberdeen City Libraries have a mix of desktop, 2CQR Babies, and 2CQR free standing, Totem kiosks. They serve a wide range of users; with two Babies for general public and one in the children’s library at the Central Library, two Totems at the large Airyhall Community Library, a Totem at Bucksburn Community and Academy Library. Totems also serve Mastrick, Cove and Tillydrone Community Libraries and there is a Baby at Kincorth Community Library.
Since the upgrade in August the Aberdeen staff have reported;
- The customers’ self-service experience is quicker and easier
- The customers are happier and more confident using the self-service points
- The staff are having to spend less time helping users
- The staff have more control of the system through the CMS
Lisa Watson, Systems and Performance Librarian added “The software installation went extremely smoothly and the positive results from both staff and customers prompted us to be confident in planning a major customer promotion”
Promotion – The fun bit
Prompted by the successful software upgrade of the self-service points the Systems Procedures Working Group, with a remit to get the best out of the library’s systems, were keen to maximize the positive staff and customer reaction.
Two events coming together provided the perfect scenario to create a buzz around the libraries and relaunch the self-service offering.
There was the 125th anniversary of the Central Library, a year-long celebration of the opening of the library to the public which provided a great promotional foundation. And the National Library Week , 9th-14th October fell just at the right time to give the team a time focus.
With a plan to offer a prize to the customers at each library who completed the 125th transaction in the selected week the promotion was created. The winners had the choice of free DVD hire or a 125th Festival Bear and all winners were entered into a prize draw for a Samsung Tablet, kindly donated by the self-service solutions company, 2CQR.
John Grant, Library Operations Manager accepts the Samsung tablet donated by 2CQR from Martin Lord, 2CQR Marketing
Press releases, posters and social media were all used to promote the event. One key aim was to bring awareness to a wider audience, typically those who were occasional library users and were not familiar with the speedy self-service option.
The results were outstanding, all sites showing increased usage over the same week the previous year. Some increased by over 25%.
Lisa was delighted with the results. “The upgrade and the promotion have been a real success story. The 2CQR products, software and support have always been excellent. And now, with the Librid update, we have more control, the customers like the intuitive software and our promotion has encouraged both staff and customers to give the self-service a go.”
Since the promotion usage figures have remained high, customers are keen to use the self-service units and staff more confident in encouraging them.