On April 10, the Chicago Public library launched a new website, its first redesign since 2007. The project was made possible by a grant from the Chicago Public Library Foundation. The software company, BiblioCommons, was hired to research, design and maintain the new site for the next three years.
The attractive main page has graphics that looks like Pinterest-like “cards”. They provide an oveview of the library's many offerings. Ruth Lednicer, spokeswoman for the Chicago Public Library said that new features are, “A lot is in response to what we’ve heard from patrons and realizing how people use websites in their everyday experience,”
The new site allows users to :
• See your place in line for holds requests
• Keep a list of titles you want to check out in the future
• Keep a list of everything you’ve read
• Read reviews by other patrons—and write your own!
• Download magazines with Zinio ( unlimited access to more than 150 magazines )
• Stream movies with Hoopla (also offers music, TV show and audiobook downloads.
The Search function provides for searching the catalog, the entire website, and a listing of events. Google-like search yields many hits, can be quickly limited & reduced with multiple filters on results page.
Users can search the Catalog by the usual title, author, subject, or keyword. But additionally, they can filter by: Language, Audience, Content: (Fiction, Non-Fiction, gov doc.), Library location, Specific holdings at HWLC, Format (Print, ebook, audio/music, vidoe, online data).
Mayor Rahm Emanuel praised the library for continuing to innovate to serve Chicago's population. "Twenty-first century libraries are not the same brick and mortar institutions they once were, and the Chicago Public Library has been at the forefront of successfully leveraging digital tools to enrich library services for our residents. This new online experience builds on this success."