Darien Library Invites Patrons to Beta Test New, More Interactive Catalog

Darien Library is offering exciting new advancements to how patrons connect and engage with the Library digitally, thanks to a grant from The Darien Foundation.

Darien Library has reimagined how to find items within their collections with the launch of a new catalog (https://dar.to/3MaBw2J) which is the first part of digital transformation that will culminate with a new and improved website this May. Patrons are invited to try out the catalog during this beta testing period and provide feedback. The new catalog offers enhanced features to make it easier to find Library materials, including suggested searches, automated recommendations, and the ability to download one’s borrowing history.

“At Darien Library, we always aim to use innovations in the digital space to make finding books, resources, events, and services as easy and pleasurable as possible for our users. Our online catalog is the most trafficked and popular destination on our website, so we knew that we had to take extra care in its development. The new catalog not only enables seamless searching, but also serendipitous discovery–mirroring, in some ways, the magic that happens when you stroll through the aisles of our shelves in person,” says Kiera Parrott, Director of Darien Library.

The implementation of the new catalog and website are funded via a generous $49,000 grant by the Darien Foundation.

“We look to award grants that are going to benefit the organization in multiple areas,” said Sean Calvillo, Board Member and Technology Chair of The Darien Foundation. “This grant modernizes the Library patron experience while also streamlining the backend processes managed by Library staff. We are thrilled to support this innovation.”

Increased Findability

The new Library catalog makes search suggestions as users type, auto-correcting common spelling errors and increasing the visibility of items. When users search using a specific term, related items will show up in an “Explore More” section. Future updates will include recommended Library events based on search terms.  The main page of the catalog features eye-catching cover arrays of librarian-created lists and the New York Times bestseller lists. Additional Library resources are featured in the catalog, such as LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) courses available online anytime to Library cardholders.

Greater Personalization

Patrons will have more control over their Library experience. They can rate titles, which will help the algorithm make personalized recommendations. Their feedback on those recommendations will assist the automated system in making better, smarter recommendations with increased usage. For voracious readers awaiting a book on hold, the system will also recommend similar items to “read while you wait.”  The new catalog will also allow patrons to create their own lists and save their searches and recommendations.

Patrons who wish for a more human touch are also encouraged to sign up for Book Matchmaker (https://dar.to/3OfqA5t) a service provided by the Library’s team of expert reader advisors.

Goodreads-Like Experience

Patrons can also create their own lists and share them to create their own hyperlocal Goodreads-like experience. These patron-created lists can only be shared directly with others and are not available via searching the catalog. The ability to share your own lists is ideal for teachers, avid readers, and book groups. It puts a slice of a librarian’s recommendation superpowers in the hands of all users. 

How to Get Started

Patrons will need their Darien Library card number to get started. Visit the Reset My PIN page (https://dar.to/3jA2IM1), enter your library card number, and you will receive an email with a link that allows you to reset your PIN. Once your PIN has changed, you can log in and start using your new Darien Library catalog. Video tutorials are provided with English captions at https://dar.to/36jiCY8.

About The Darien Foundation

The Darien Foundation is an independent, community-based, 501(c) (3) public charity. Since 1998, The Darien Foundation has awarded $5.5 million in grants for technology and capital initiatives, which create opportunity for Darien’s youth, support our town’s safety and security services, and enhance the overall quality of life in Darien. Our volunteer Board of Directors—who reflect the many constituencies of Darien—thoroughly evaluates grant requests and assists grant recipients in achieving their goals. Public donations are directed to supporting grants awarded by The Darien Foundation, as all operating costs have been funded by Board member and Officer contributions. Most recently, The Darien Foundation has awarded grants to Abilis, At Home In Darien, the Darien Heritage Trail for the Bicentennial, Darien Arts Center, Darien Public Schools, DAF Media, EMS-Post 53, and The Depot Youth Center.

For more information about The Darien Foundation, visit darienfoundation.org

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