Photo: Northamptonshire Central Library by Julia Chandler, Libraries Taskforce, reproduced under Creative Commons Licence.
Northamptonshire LibraryPlus is one of our first netloan customers to upgrade their People’s Network PCs to a Windows 10 operating system (OS). With many other library authorities contemplating their next refresh using this OS, we would like to share some of their experiences and how we worked together to introduce the new PCs.
“We’ve seen a vast improvement since moving from the old XP operating system. While being stuck on IE8, web browsing was much slower, and many websites wouldn’t display correctly,” explains Jaisant Patel, Systems Coordinator at Northamptonshire LibraryPlus. “This also impacted on printing services, as some documents didn’t print correctly, such as airline boarding passes which has not just had an adverse effect on our users’ customer experience but also our income. Since upgrading, the customer experience has been much improved and we’re very pleased that Lorensbergs has been able to provide such timely support with netloan for Windows 10.”
“Following Netloan usage reports, we were able to identify how well public PCs were being used in our libraries and how many each library would be allocated going forward as we were unable to replace our public PCs like for like in terms of numbers due to the funding available. By reducing the number of public PCs that each library was allocated, it enabled us to increase the bandwidth for each public PC, which means that session speed and fluidity is greatly enhanced and provided users with an efficient browsing experience. So far, customer feedback on computer use has been great. The faster speed afforded by the increased bandwidth helps especially with activities such as video streaming and social media, which of course are becoming increasingly common”.
There were a few challenges along the way with the refresh design, build and implementation that our LGSS IT team faced, mostly concerned with the new Microsoft Edge browser. One problem was that customers needed an efficient way to view PDF documents, e.g. government forms are often in this format, but there were some issues when trying to use Adobe Reader. The answer has been to disable the Edge browser and introduce Internet Explorer 11 in its place as the default web browser.
Both Northamptonshire LibraryPlus and LGSS IT teams worked with the Lorensbergs engineer and account manager on the deployment of netloan for PC session management. As part of netloan support for Windows 10, it had been developed to be compatible with the new OS’s approach to notifications. So, however the customer is using Windows, whether in the Start screen or while using an application, they still receive messages informing them of the amount of time they have left in their PC session, plus any other messages sent directly from library staff.
Northamptonshire also wanted to see how other LibraryPlus and council services could be promoted using the netloan messaging feature. “It’s going to be really useful to be able to promote our LibraryPlus services and partners to customers using netloan messages. Many customers using library PCs only come into the library for this reason. Now they can discover and be encouraged to use other LibraryPlus services that we offer, as communicated through netloan messages once they’ve logged onto their computer session”.
The public PC refresh project at Northamptonshire LibraryPlus also supported the Next Generation Working vision for the council. Moving forward the public and staff will be able to work remotely and use the libraries as touch down bases by using the Wi-Fi and guest printing facilities, instead of returning back to the office. The wide scope of the project means the team can now relax for the next few years, knowing that the next refresh won’t be needed until 2020 or later.