As public libraries look to develop their digital services, many are focused on how to build on Wi-Fi investment and expand the digital offer beyond provision of the People’s Network.
Paul Hatch, Information Development Officer from Lancashire Libraries, and Mark Greenwood, Senior Solutions Architect from BT Lancashire Services (BTLS) which manages Lancashire County Council’s (LCC) ICT Services, spoke to Lorensbergs about their vision for libraries and their experience introducing wireless printing with netloan Wi-Fi print.
Lancashire Libraries has started an exciting refresh project involving new PCs with a Windows upgrade, laptops, a faster network and new Wi-Fi.
The refresh involves modernising services in line with the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend. There’s also a desire to develop library facilities to suit more multi-purpose community spaces with the expectation that many library buildings will begin to accommodate a combination of services including children and youth centres alongside libraries.
Whilst embracing BYOD, there remains a reliance on libraries to provide printing services and it's important users have adequate opportunity to print in the new environment despite some reduction in static PCs. There’s already been demand from users to bring in their own personal devices – laptops, smartphones and tablets – and print from them while visiting the library. Lancashire Libraries aim to encourage greater footfall from BYOD users, and the availability of wireless printing will help realise this goal and ensure the new offer is cohesive and accommodating.
The provision of netloan Wi-Fi print became integral to the refresh planning, LCC and BTLS worked closely with Lorensbergs to realise their vision for the relaunched libraries.
“We were looking to transform the libraries and bring them into a more modern era, to develop how customers are using the library. A key driver to achieve this is that when users bring in their own devices, they have the ability to print from them,” comments Mark.
“With a necessary reduction in new static PCs to keep within cost constraints, we really needed something to enable customers to cope with using their own devices. Availability of netloan Wi-Fi print was one of the main drivers enabling this to work,” adds Paul.
Choosing netloan Wi-Fi print
As an existing netloan customer, LCC and BTLS learnt about the launch of netloan Wi-Fi print from Lorensbergs. They were already using the netloan PC booking software to manage PC printing and had been providing staff and customers with a stable service for several years. Already satisfied with Lorensbergs’ products and service, they carried out a product comparison to make sure netloan Wi-Fi print was the best solution to meet their needs and had a demo of the software.
“We particularly liked the ability to print from home or elsewhere from android devices, and then collect the print job when next in the library,” commented Mark.
New service implementation
Some technical conversations followed with the netloan product manager and support team to check system feasibility and plan the implementation and then they were ready to introduce the new wireless printing service.
“It was about 15 years since we put in the original PCs, and it’s not really changed since then apart from some minor refreshes,” says Mark. “We wanted to look at what was right going forward and build an understanding of how libraries could look in the future. The initial roll out provided this opportunity and we’re able to see what the service adds while making plans for the remaining branches."
Initial roll out of Netloan Wi-Fi print took place in two libraries: the busy town library at Burnley, and a smaller library branch in the village of Longridge.
“Lorensbergs staff were very good, the product manager and engineer – it was all relatively easy and smooth.”
Launch and feedback
Netloan Wi-Fi print was launched publicly, and customers at Burnley and Longridge welcomed the opportunity to print from their smartphones, laptops and tablets while in the library.
“We carried out a survey to find out what customers thought of the new service. 76% of customers with their own internet-enabled device would now bring their device to the library. 92% thought that the library’s printing services were adequate for their needs,” reports Mark. “We’re pleased we chose netloan Wi-Fi print for introducing the new service to our libraries.”
“The help we’ve received and all the instructions on using Wi-Fi print has been excellent and it’s been easy to tell interested customers that these are the steps you take to print. Customers are up and running very quickly with Apple devices. Android devices have a few steps for the initial set up. Staff have assisted where some users needed pointers getting started, and Lorensbergs provided very good training and support materials,” comments Paul.
“As well as training, Lorensbergs has helped with raising customer awareness. They provided useful marketing literature, which has helped publicise the new service to customers. We got posters and printed out guides to use in our libraries. They got put to good use, placed in prominent places. The leaflets and posters attracted people’s attention to the new service.”
“Wi-Fi print has worked well and the customers have liked it. For the most part it’s of equal standard to PC printing, and provides a similarly good customer experience.”
Lancashire is one of the UK’s largest library authorities. Netloan Wi-Fi print offers lots of scope to build library usage and enter a more modern era as the service undergoes change.
“We want to encourage more people to bring their own devices into Lancashire Libraries and netloan Wi-Fi print helps us to do this. Once it’s pushed out wider, it’ll be an incentive for people to come into our libraries,” concludes Mark, “It will also support the wider variety of services on offer as some library branches become more multi-purpose single service points within their communities.”
Lorensbergs would like to thank Lancashire Libraries for participating in this case study and we look forward to supporting our customer as the service restructures and develops.