Library authorities are investing in their computer, Wi-Fi and printing facilities at a time when their communities are in ever greater need of digital support. At Newham Libraries, a computer refresh and reinvigorated digital strategy has been supported by Lorensbergs with the introduction of netloan PC booking, Wi-Fi, print solutions and kiosk integration.
Lorensbergs talked to Caroline Rae, Service Development Manager, to hear more about the library team’s experiences in providing the new services to their customers.
Newham in East London has 10 library sites, which include larger branches at Stratford, East Ham and Canning Town. The role of self-service is embedded in the library’s digital strategy: transactional activities must be facilitated by self-service. This includes booking and accessing computers and print service payments.
“With self-service in place, library staff can focus on delivering the transformational aspect of our work such as assisted digital services, resource recommendations and story time sessions. Netloan has helped us achieve this,” explains Caroline.
Netloan at Newham Libraries
The introduction of netloan at Newham Libraries also supported the opening of the new combined library centre at Canning Town.
“Since opening the centre, the increased PC use has been phenomenal – it’s just been so incredibly successful,” says Caroline. “The netloan installation was very straightforward. There was some background work to set up the server, but all went smoothly and we were soon up and running with the new PC booking and print management system.
“Our netloan account manager at Lorensbergs kept things moving and ensured our questions were answered promptly. Library managers have given positive feedback on the staff training and have found Lorensbergs’ support documents very useful.”
The previous PC booking system used by Newham wasn’t as well suited to the public library environment. Customers have found netloan much easier to use and are also benefiting from convenient self-service options on the bibliotheca kiosks for booking computers and managing printing.
“There aren’t as many steps involved with netloan to use a PC or print compared to the previous system, and it’s definitely more intuitive. Customers like netloan’s PC booking calendar screen on the kiosk – this is their default view. And it’s also very easy to walk up and login to a PC directly. It’s so much easier than what we had before. It’s straightforward and so quick to navigate.”
The computer refresh and introduction of netloan at Newham Libraries has seen overall PC usage hours increase by 24%. This amounts to 107,000 hours of use in the first 9 months of the year.
“Following the refresh with netloan, computer usage at Newham is at its highest level in the last five years,” comments Caroline. “It’s great to be able to report such a positive result.”
Improved printing services with kiosk integration
“With printing we’ve really seen a big difference. The self-service print payment and release is a massive benefit of having netloan on the kiosks,” says Caroline.
“Previously we had a really cumbersome process, where staff had to create print vouchers and sell them to customers. It was very labour intensive for staff and also inconvenient for customers. They would buy and use the code on the voucher to redeem it at the printer.
“Now customers can just walk up and pay for what they need on the kiosk without needing to queue up and fiddle about with vouchers. They’re able to go up to the kiosk, pay for it, print if off and walk away, without staff help. It’s also great that we can easily reprint too with netloan, for example if a printer is too low on ink the first time.
“Over and again our library managers report that printing is so much easier now with netloan, and customers are impressed by how quickly they can accomplish what they need on the kiosks.”
“Most customers are used to self-service machines, for example in banks and supermarkets, and they expect us to provide the same technology. Customers like going on the kiosk as they don’t need to get staff involved. They often prefer self-service for routine transactions – it’s just something they’re used to.
“Netloan on the kiosk really enables us to provide a modern library experience in line with customer expectations.”
Wi-Fi access management
Newham Libraries’ investment in netloan modules includes netloan Wi-Fi authentication solution, and Wi-Fi print which enables customers to print from their smartphones, tablets and laptops.
“It means there’s a joined up solution for our services, which helps with administration and reporting,” says Caroline.
Previously at Newham Libraries, customers needed to sign in for Wi-Fi access. However, this process didn’t authenticate via the LMS (Library Management System). With netloan Wi-Fi, authentication via the LMS offers a more secure service. It also encourages more library memberships for the benefit of quick Wi-Fi access, and this leads to an increased likelihood of using other library services.
“When we introduced netloan Wi-Fi, it was a very smooth transition for customers to start using it for authentication. We’ve already seen unique Wi-Fi users increase by 3% compared to last year.”
With these netloan additional modules, user management tools and usage data is all accessible in the same centralised system, so reports can be set up and scheduled in one place across PCs, printing (both computer and wireless) and Wi-Fi use.
“Netloan Wi-Fi means we now have better usage statistics to work with. These are very useful for library staff and also relied on by corporate management.”
Wireless printing services at Newham
Newham Libraries are excited to begin promoting their new wireless printing service with netloan Wi-Fi print.
“We became aware that this is a service we should offer. The Council has carried out studies of digital literacy in the borough. Whereas many people have smart phones, many are without computers in their homes. So people are carrying out transactions via their phones but are lacking the facilities to print off. We’ll be meeting the need to print from personal devices through netloan Wi-Fi print in the library.
“We’re getting ready to promote the service, with posters showing actual scenarios where wireless printing is important, such as when needing to print tickets. Customers will also be able to send jobs to print from home, and then pop into the library to pick them up when passing by.
“Wi-Fi printing in the library is such a good service to be able to offer people – most would find it extremely useful and convenient to print what they need as they pass by the library. Footfall is set to rise as people take advantage of this service, and will attract those that aren’t amongst our usual library users.”
Exciting plans for greater customer support
Newham Libraries are continuing to deliver on their strategy to extend and enhance assisted digital services. This has included reviewing all they deliver in this area, and enables PC tuition and digital skills support to be more comprehensive.
“We’re completing the PC refresh project by introducing netloan-controlled Surface Pros, to provide customers with a tablet experience. And we’re also going to provide laptops to allow more assisted digital work away from the main floor of the library,” explains Caroline. “This way, customers can be assisted with visa or Universal Credit applications in a more private setting. We can take them into a quiet room with a laptop, use netloan to log onto the public network and sit with them while they make their application.
“Being able to do this also means that our essential one-to-one support won’t reduce the number of public PCs available, especially since demand for computer time has recently increased.
“So far, in branches where the laptops have been rolled out, they’ve proved really popular. As well as supporting the one-to-one sessions, it’s now possible to run courses in any room in the libraries and community centres, such as Do It Online, Barclays’ Tea and Teach sessions, Cisco Academy, and UK Online Centres’ Learn My Way courses.
“The added flexibility of managing online access through netloan controlled laptops and tablets means all libraries are able to make the most of the latest courses and learning materials for their customers.”
Hosting the netloan user group
Newham Libraries are delighted that they were recently able to host the London and South East netloan user group in their Canning Town Library. The uplift in usage of digital services is set to continue at the centre, with Wi-Fi print publicity and the relaunched assisted digital programme rolling out to the new laptops and tablets.
Library staff are extremely positive in how they are continuing to make a massive difference to their communities. They were pleased to share more about their experiences at the user group. Lorensbergs is proud to be a supplier and partner in these endeavours and looks forward to supporting Newham in the months and years to come.
With thanks to Caroline Rae, Service Development Manager at Newham Libraries.
For further information on netloan, call 01992 415505 or email firstname.lastname@example.org