Aaron Tay’s prior experience as an auditor makes him “a believer in collecting and using empirical data to make decisions.” He now applies that mind-set to social networking and the website to find ways to improve the library.
By using web tools to monitor social media sites for mentions about his library, for example, he has converted unhappy users “into strong supporters of the library due to our fast reaction and service recovery response.”
Tay has learned that projects can fail without input from users and looks for that input in various arenas. He has gathered a pool of students, identified via Facebook and Twitter, and now chats with them often to get their thoughts on library services. Less personally, he also employs a tool to track what users are looking for on the library’s site.
Some of his tweaks to services include championing an overhaul of the library’s subject guide and FAQ pages and training staff to participate in web chat reference service that, “with little fanfare,” now draws in more than 200 chats per month. Usage of these resources has increased by 40 percent.
Tay generously shares his findings with the international library community via his Musings About Librarianship blog. One example: an extensive survey of 40 library website designs for mobile devices that, says Skokie Public Library’s Toby Greenwalt, who nominated Tay, “examines what features are most successful (or not).”
Tay also takes the time to follow up with students in person, keeping them front and center in his thinking. “We should not be blinded by just shiny tools,” he says. “More important is how we use [them] to improve the lives of our users.”