Case Study: Whistler Public Library

Summary

We launched an extensive community engagement campaign in order to understand the needs and preferences of the Library website’s users.

We used both digital and print media components, showcasing visual concepts of the new library website in posters, social media, and print ads. Youth were engaged through classroom prize incentives.

The Whistler Public Library was pleased with the level of participation and the resulting feedback as it garnered significant insights into current online usage and the community’s needs for the new website. The new website design, navigation, and overall content was structured based on this feedback.

The website went live with a soft launch and underwent a final round of online testing and a focus group session for further feedback before the final launch.

Services

Goals

A review of how library users engaged with the library online informed recommendations for the website redesign.

Based on the survey’s findings the recommendations for the new website included:

  • showcase online media more prominently
  • simplified navigation
  • a ‘quick search’ for books
  • youth specific sections
  • prominent access to events calendar
  • usage of icons for navigation
  • larger, more engaging images
  • simplified colour palette

The Whistler Library’s key mission driving the project was to “inspire wonder.”

The new website encourages community members to take full advantage of the range of services and resources available at the Library, both online and on site.

Community Engagement

We built and ran two separate surveys – one for kids and one for teens/adults. The difference being an elevated level of privacy for the kids version, as well as different verbiage that would be more understandable for younger participants. A total of 843 participants contributed during the 45 day period of the survey.

Digital

On the current Whistler library website we built a slider that prompted visitors to complete the survey, which linked through to a page where the participant could choose between the kids and the adult survey.

To boost participation in the survey we stationed podium stands with iPads at high traffic locations during two major events in Whistler, as well as at the local community recreation centre and the library itself. A Cloud9 Marketing staff member was present to encourage participation, hand out flyers, and answer questions.

Video

A one minute video was created and promoted on social media and through paid advertising on YouTube. The video received 2,685 views on YouTube and 4,987 views on Facebook.

Print

Posters were distributed to local businesses and community boards and a small business card flyer was also printed and distributed during events and left at locations throughout Whistler, including the library.

We ran two quarter page ads in the local paper using bright colours and bold fonts.

Another local paper published an article on the survey, and newsletters were sent out from local employers, the municipality, and elementary schools to their respective databases.

Results

Integrating the findings of the survey into the website design, the new Whistler Public Library website offers users a seamless experience in taking full advantage of the range of services and resources available, both online and on site.

Several features contribute to the overall success of the website:

  • A simplified colour palette and easier navigation makes it easy to explore the Library’s resources and services
  • Bibliocommons, the Library’s searchable database for all their titles, is seamlessly integrated, making it easier for the user to search for titles directly on site, without having to click through to a third-party site
  • The site highlights youth resources by age group and upcoming events related to that age group in the sidebar, as well as a calendar of events and a family newsletter
  • The help centre/FAQ page offers answers to questions about the library and its resources, searchable by keyword
  • Downloadable media is featured on the home page menu, making users aware of the range of online resources available

The Whistler Library’s Director, Elizabeth Tracy, is excited about the Library’s improved online presence:

“As the library’s 24-7 portal, we are excited to have a website that will help us push online resources to the forefront and highlight popular materials like our new items and staff picks.”