A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out our State Library user survey back in the spring—we really appreciate your insightful feedback and suggestions. And what are we going to do to meet your needs and answer your burning questions? Read on!
To start, we did have a few revelations:
- 30% of survey respondents said they visited the library in person more than “rarely”
- 40% of survey respondents said they visited the library’s website more than “rarely”
- 24% of survey respondents said they visit the library’s DSpace digital repository more than “rarely”
- 83% of survey respondents are not followers of the library’s accounts on social media
Clearly we have our work cut out for us to spread the word about our collections and services to you out there--wherever you may be. Okay—so how can we improve? First, let’s take a look at the five most popular reasons users actually come to the library in person:
- to do legislative or legal research
- to attend library programs
- to have a quiet place to study, read, or just relax
- to view library exhibits
- to do historical or genealogical research
The most popular reason—legislative or legal research—has been traditionally the most requested service at the State Library, and we are working on getting more of the items needed to do legislative history digitized and available on our DSpace repository. The Acts are already available, and the Resolves are digitized and will be coming soon. In the meantime, you can see our Resolves volumes in the State Library's Internet Archive collections. The final editing of the digitized Legislative Documents collection (the “as filed” House and Senate Bills) will be completed and loaded in their entirety to DSpace we hope by the end of 2017. Also, the historical House and Senate Journals have been digitized as well and will soon be added to our DSpace repository.
Our popular, monthly lunch-time “Author Talks” series will resume after the summer on Tuesday, Sept. 12 with author Larry Tye on his book Bobby Kennedy: the Making of a Liberal Icon, so please plan on returning for these great library programs as this will be only the first of an exciting lineup of interesting books and authors! We are also planning a “Library Treasures” tour for September and a genealogy research program in November to showcase the library’s collections in these areas. So, how do you find out about these programs? They are always promoted on our website or please sign up for our email announcement list. Did you also know that we have a group for Friends of the State Library? If you want to join the Friends or receive the Friends’ monthly newsletter, NEWSBrief, just email us.
photo album showing how things have changed over the last hundred years in the State Library space! Be sure to view our latest exhibit before you leave as we always have something interesting right outside our main entrance in room 341 of the State House. In case you didn’t know, we also host our exhibits “virtually” on flickr for those of you who can’t make it into Boston and want to check them out.
We are very proud of our extensive historical and genealogical collections here at the library and glad that you like them too! We frequently highlight the most unusual, quirky and/or the most curious items in our library staff blog posts so you can also “discover” them along with library staff. One of our most treasured holdings is William Bradford’s manuscript, Of Plimoth Plantation from 1630—you can read about its restoration and conservation by the Northeast Document Conservation Center, and you can “see” it for yourself digitally in our DSpace repository.
We are working on digitizing more and more of our unique, non-copyrighted, historical and genealogical collections, especially historical maps and Massachusetts city and town annual reports and directories which were particularly singled out by survey participants. We highlight our extensive holdings of genealogical resources in this informative brochure. Coming soon to DSpace we will have the entire digitized collections of the Massachusetts Public Documents which contain the historical annual reports of state agencies and commissions. We have also reformatted and digitized our finding aids for library manuscript and former legislators’ papers collections.
And what are the five most popular ways that users make use of the library’s collections and resources both in-person and remotely?
- using the library's website and/or online catalog
- performing onsite research
- using digitized materials contained in the library's DSpace digital repository
- using the library's databases and electronic journals
- finding digitized collections from search engine results that link to library resources
The overwhelming majority of you took the time to comment positively on the library and library staff and just want more of what we are doing already—more digitized items, more programs, and more promotion and outreach. We want you to know who we are and what we do! In that spirit, we are working on more “how-tos” and guides for our library resources and redesigning our library homepage on the new mass.gov, which will be launching later this year. Thank you again for all your support!
State Library of Massachusetts