The Darien Library is offering exciting new advancements in how patrons connect and interact with the library digitally, thanks to a grant from the Darien Foundation.
Darien Library has reinvented the way to find items in their collections with the launch of a new catalog (https://dar.to/3MaBw2J) which is the first part of the digital transformation that will culminate with a new and improved website in May. Contributors are encouraged to try out the catalog during this beta testing period and provide feedback. The new catalog offers enhanced features to make Library materials easier to find, including search suggestions, automated recommendations, and the ability to download borrowing history.
“At Darien Library, we always aim to use innovations in the digital space to make finding books, resources, events and services as easy and enjoyable as possible for our users. Our online catalog is the most visited and popular destination on our website, so we knew we had to pay special attention to its development. The new catalog not only allows for seamless search, but also for chance discovery – reflecting, in some ways, the magic that happens when you walk the aisles of our shelves in person,” says Kiera Parrott, Director of the Darien Library. .
The implementation of the new catalog and website is funded by a generous grant of $49,000 from the Darien Foundation.
“We are looking to award grants that will benefit the organization in multiple areas,” said Sean Calvillo, board member and president of technology for the Darien Foundation. “This grant modernizes the library user experience while streamlining back-end processes managed by library staff. We are delighted to support this innovation.
The library’s new catalog offers search suggestions as users type, automatically corrects common misspellings, and increases item visibility. When users search using a specific term, related items appear in a “Discover More” section. Future updates will include recommended library events based on search terms. The main catalog page features eye-catching cover charts of lists created by librarians and the New York Times bestseller lists. Additional library resources are featured in the catalog, such as LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) courses available online anytime for library cardholders.
Patrons will have more control over their library experience. They can rate titles, which will help the algorithm make personalized recommendations. Their feedback on these recommendations will help the automated system make better and smarter recommendations with increased usage. For voracious readers waiting for a book on hold, the system will also recommend similar articles to “read while you wait.” The new catalog will also allow customers to create their own lists and save their searches and recommendations.
Customers can also create their own lists and share them to create their own Goodreads-like hyperlocal experience. These lists created by contributors can only be shared directly with others and are not available through a catalog search. The ability to share your own lists is great for teachers, avid readers, and reading groups. It puts a slice of a librarian’s recommendation superpowers into the hands of all users.
How to start
Customers will need their Darien Library card number to get started. Visit the Reset My PIN Page (https://dar.to/3jA2IM1), enter your library card number and you will receive an email with a link to reset your PIN. Once your PIN has been changed, you can log in and start using your new Darien Library catalog. Video tutorials are provided with English subtitles at https://dar.to/36jiCY8.
About the Darien Foundation
The Darien Foundation is an independent, community-based, 501(c)(3) public charity. Since 1998, The Darien Foundation has awarded $5.5 million in grants for technology and capital initiatives, which create opportunities for Darien’s youth, support our city’s safety and security services, and improve the quality of overall life in Darien. Our volunteer Board of Directors, which reflects Darien’s many constituencies, carefully evaluates grant applications and helps grantees achieve their goals. Public donations are intended to support grants made by the Darien Foundation, as all operating costs have been funded by contributions from board members and officers. More recently, the Darien Foundation has awarded grants to Abilis, At Home In Darien, the Darien Heritage Trail for the Bicentennial, Darien Arts Center, Darien Public Schools, DAF Media, EMS-Post 53, and The Depot Youth Center.
For more information on the Darien Foundation, visit darienfoundation.org