The New York Public Library website (http://www.nypl.org/) cannot be viewed before a shameless splash page/pop up (see below). Libraries need money to provide services, and you can expect that these services will cost more than the money libraries make from users. Fines and copies will hardly pay for a library. Most libraries are funded by their city, county, state, and/or federal government; yet, sometimes this is not enough, and with budget cuts to library funding, donations are counted on more and more. While this is a very tasteful reminder that donating to your library would be a great service to the community, imagine seeing this every single time you want to reserve a book. It would become obnoxious, and the same ad does show up on many of the pages as a header already. I believe this reminder would best be put in a small space on the bottom of the homepage instead. And let us hope for the sake of New York Public Library patrons that the splash page is a temporary, for-the-holidays kind of thing.
The homepage is pretty typical with the header and footer in place for navigation. However, the header and footer change throughout the site. There is one other header with the same menu, but a different look. The footer comes in at least three different versions with different links. The lack of consistency is not appreciated…Back to the homepage, the image links in the middle of the page are a little unattractive. Also, I do not like how I have to hold my cursor over the text to reveal more text, which gives you a vague idea of where the link will lead. When it comes down to it, I don’t like too much mystery on a webpage; I don’t want to waste my time clicking links that take me to pages that are not what I thought they would be.
Now, where is that social media? … 5 minutes later… Oh yes, here it is! What is wrong with this scenario? I shouldn’t spend that much time looking for possible social media links. The Connect with NYPL page has all the social media links, and one of the many footers found on the site also contains these links. (If a footer has the social media links depends upon what page you are on the site) NYPL may find 9 Ways to Transform Your Website Into a Social Media Hub by Rich Brooks on the Social Media Examiner helpful; number 1 is “Add social media buttons to your homepage.” The social media options include: newsletter subscription, blogs, google+, twitter, tumblr, foursquare, youtube, itunes, and flickr. I hope that users know their social media symbols because when you hold the cursor over one of the symbols it doesn’t tell you the website to which you are being linked. Thankfully, the social media hover text feature was present on both the MCL and PCPL websites.
The facebook page is similar to the google+ page. Flickr is used to upload only historical photographs instead of current events. They use twitter quite frequently with 15+ tweets a day, some of which are responses to other users. When users click on the social media links, they can view NYPL activity, except on Facebook. The New York Public Library Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/newyorkpubliclibrary) activity is not available for those that are not members of facebook and “like” the library. Instead you find links back to the NYPL website; however, the menu on the left is still available for those not signed into facebook, so they can see photos, information, twitter, youtube, videos, blogs, livestream, etc.
How am I going to talk about their facebook page when I can’t even see most of it? Well, I “liked” the NYPL just for this blog, so I can provide a full report. -I am annoyed that NYPL expects anyone who may want to view their wall to be a facebook user and willing to “like” their page without seeing it first.- I recommend that they make their wall open to the public instead of adding links to pages on their site. They are very pretty links, but do not give me an idea of what users can expect from their facebook page. This is especially problematic for novice or non-facebook users, who do not have a good idea of typical facebook layout. They may not realize the information they are missing out on, and underestimate the value of the NYPL’s facebook page. Below is a slideshow of their page before and after logging in and “liking” their page.
The NYPL wall is updated with library/community events, ideas for fun family activities, book recommendations, historical education, etc. From one of their posts, I learned that you can chat with a librarian on facebook, but I couldn’t find the link to this feature anywhere else. It would be very helpful if this link was provided on the info page. Users can expect one or two interesting and engaging posts everyday, usually with links and/or images. NYPL’s facebook wall is quite professional with well thought out posts. I enjoyed viewing their wall, and I think NYPL users would find the facebook page useful. Besides having their wall private, NYPL should be used as an example of how libraries can use facebook successfully.