Library Simplified is a project between the Institute of Museum and Library services and 10 public libraries across the US. Their goal is to make digital collections easier to access. I applaud this effort and cannot WAIT to see the fruits of their labor.
They have put together this infographic illustrating the complications patrons must face when trying to borrow digitally. It is so difficult I wonder at the increasingly growing numbers of digital material circulations. How are people not giving up all together?
I have borrowed several ebooks and audiobooks from my local library. My first attempt was very frustrating. You have to search across different vendors and different formats. And the OverDrive app was frustrating as well. You search for your library and then you sign into your library account through the OverDrive app. OPACs have tried to make things more streamlined but it is still difficult and frustrating.
They break the user process down into Discovery, Borrowing, and Reading and are looking at those processes through web interface and mobile app. The journey of the user is mapped out and user wants are considered based on being a new user and an existing user.
Then they break down discovery into recommendations, browsing, and searching. Here are a few of their prototype images for smartphone and tablet:
Browse recommended titles by genre category on a smartphone
Browse selected genre categories for available titles on a tablet
The same is done for Borrowing and Reading. I will be keeping an eye on what they are doing because I think this is so important. Imagine if using the library was easy? How much of the digital divide is not just not having access to technology but also being frustrated at not knowing how to use it? Having these problems solved directly impacts the mission of the library: access for all, freedom to read, getting more materials in more hands. I don’t understand why this hasn’t been more of a priority and am grateful that someone decided it was time.