Putting your library on the map

Totius Mundi 1775

It seems like there’s a new exploration race occurring, except now instead of topography and geography, it’s about the businesses and places of interest throughout the nation and the world.

Some efforts are tackling this for all businesses. If you haven’t tried Google Maps, you’re in for a very neat experience. They’ve been building its functionality for some time, and owners or representatives of establishments are encouraged to refine the information already provided by Google. Street View lets you see panoramic “photo spheres” of locations on the street.

Not many people know that there is an Indoor version of both Google Maps and Google Street View, however. In this article, the Chelmsford Public Library is one such place that has taken advantage of this service (the Indoor Google Maps service is free: a team from Google will come to your facility and map / label the interior, making a basic floor plan visible from Google Maps). The Indoor Street View allows a facility to present its interior like a virtual tour, showing full-360-degree views of rooms. This is a spectacular way for libraries who wish to offer meeting rooms for public use, or have unusual and interesting spaces they want to highlight.

For reviews and other information, Yelp is another service that’s been extended to libraries. Yelp is most commonly used to find restaurants (and see how they are rated by previous customers), but is being applied to all businesses, including libraries. You can describe your services and respond to feedback placed on Yelp. Treat it like another avenue of social media for your library!

Anyone attending the digital literacy sessions held throughout the state from late November 2012 into January 2013 will remember an initiative called Connect2Compete, as well as the fact that this initiative would be pushing people interested in technology training toward libraries. Sadly, the database of libraries used there may not have survived the transition to its sister initiative, EveryoneOn. Instructions for making changes to your library’s information on that site can be found here.

Another national effort to put libraries on a map is the IMLS iMapLibraries page. This is meant to help libraries serve increasingly diverse populations, according to their June 2013 ALA presentation. Yet another is being implemented by OCLC, called Spotlight. This is a service meant to broaden the library reach to mobile users, and is free to libraries. (OCLC has another free service for libraries, called WorldCat Registry, mainly used by developers and other libraries.)

How are you putting your library on the map?

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