ENVIRONMENTAL SCAN

We assessed the library’s community, patrons, and their needs to get a bigger picture of the library and its users. Hollis is a small farming community in southern New Hampshire on the Massachusetts border. The town is affluent and Republican leaning, with a lot of older patrons utilizing the library’s services, such as technical help with cell phones, iPads, and laptops. Some of these patrons also use the computers available for patrons within the library and need help logging into their email, printing, scanning, or creating Word documents. Many of these patrons are regulars at DIY programming events for adults and the library’s book clubs.

There are 68,985 items in their total circulation, including 12,491 electronic materials. The library’s budget is $305,342 per year. New Hampshire libraries are funded primarily through property taxes and are managed by a director and board of trustees.

Hollis Social Library patrons could be placed into two distinct age groups: 65 and older make up the majority of Hollis patrons, and tweens and pre-teens from the middle school make up a smaller portion of after-school daily visitors. The struggle with the Hollis Social library website is how to make it user-friendly and accessible for the seniors yet engage and excite a younger generation.

A majority of the Hollis Library’s senior patrons read cozy mysteries, historical fiction mysteries, crime mysteries, and romance mysteries. The library receives a lot of phone calls (not email inquiries) about how to login to patron accounts, renew items, place books on hold and request inter-library loans (ILLs). However, this could all be done from a patron’s account. This means that older patrons are not using the website—or logging into their patron accounts—for various reasons. Could usability be one of them?  Based on our environmental scan, we created a persona to analyze the viability of the website.

 
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