At our recent netloan user groups, we were excited to hear from Bristol Libraries on how their self-service set up has been adding value to library services. Stan Tattersall, Library Technology Officer, presented on the libraries’ use of self-service kiosks with netloan PC booking and print management integration. It provides customers with the ability to reserve PCs and pay for printing, alleviating staff of routine admin duties during staffed hours. It also complements Bristol Libraries’ use of bibliotheca’s Open+ service for unstaffed extended hours of access which is in use at three branch libraries.
Bristol has a total of 27 libraries providing public access to 238 PCs. Further PCs are available for customer use in the Highways and Planning Department and the Public Records Office. Each month around 5,500 customers make use of the PCs, which amounts to a total of 19,000 individual sessions.
Developing the self-service offer as part of Bristol Libraries’ service delivery has been a journey, and staff are beginning to see some very rewarding results.
Above left: Stan Tattersall, Bristol Libraries, presents at the netloan user group. Right: Self-service kiosks with netloan integration.
Library users appreciate the quick way of getting things done when using the kiosk. Customer feedback indicates that they find the kiosks intuitive to use, and that they enjoy having the choice of either self-service or staff assistance when needed. Self-service is often a desirable way of using library services, with many customers preferring to make simple transactions such as PC bookings on their own without staff intervention. It’s something that customers have come to expect. Meanwhile staff are able to direct their help where needed, assisting other computer users with internet and technology-related queries.
Staff and customers are pleased there’s no longer the need to join a queue for assistance, plus kiosks enable users to select which PC they would like to use within the library, showing when each is available. Further feedback indicates that users are more comfortable paying for and releasing their own print jobs, which may include confidential documents.
In Bristol’s Central Library almost 50% of PC sessions are reserved via the kiosk. 25% of PC sessions are via direct logon, with the remaining sessions booked through staff, often to guest visitors to the area. Almost 13,000 page prints are managed every month through the kiosks.
Extended access opportunity for library customers
Above: Bristol Libraries' branches with extended access open hours
Bristol has provided extended access to some branches with a pilot of the Open+ solution which involves swipe card access to library members. These libraries are open daily from 8am-7pm. Between July and September 2017, almost a quarter of PC bookings at these branches occurred during the extended hours, with 11% of registered users taking advantage of the additional time open. Feedback from the public has been positive, with customers enjoying the quiet time offered by extended access, and the opportunity to visit the library which may have not been possible for them previously. It’s proved helpful for parents after the school run and also good for those who want to book their children on to the PCs to complete homework.
So extended access combined with PC booking and print release on self-service kiosks has proved to be a successful combination at Bristol. They use a number of multi-purpose RFID enabled kiosks – for both book and PC/printing transactions – plus netloan dedicated kiosks for computer and print management. The kiosks give users the ability to continue using the library facilities during these extended hours, and it’s great to see how it offers added flexibility and confidence for more people to use the libraries’ services more often.
Further information from Bristol will be available for netloan customers in the user group minutes publishing shortly. With thanks to Stan Tattersall at Bristol Libraries for some very interesting insights into kiosk use at their libraries.