Our recent survey, in partnership with Koios, asked library staff to think about the role of their website.  While the number of responses we got were too small to draw any meaningful statistical conclusions, the feedback and comments we got were thought-provoking enough for us to make some initial observations.

  • We asked, ‘In terms of providing service, what is the relative importance between your building and your website?’  Most people rated the importance of their website and their physical building about equally. 
  • While almost every library surveyed has web analytics installed, most respondents felt their analytics were underused.
  • It seems that everyone would like more online discoverability.  

We also found that the libraries paying for online advertising on social media platforms, primarily Facebook,  are not sure whether this advertising has any effect. Our analytics have shown that social media generally does not drive much traffic to library websites.

Most respondents rated ‘Promotion’ as their websites’ primary function, but driving circulation, providing community space, and meeting the needs of the underserved also scored highly. Other recurring themes included combating digital exclusion,  supporting local business,  and community health. The current economic squeeze in the UK will give libraries an opportunity to show their value in providing all of the above. It’s good to know that so many librarians recognise the critical role their websites are going to play. 

We have two winners of our prize draw: Congratulations to Doncaster and Hertfordshire libraries – some nice tea is on its way to you.

We’re donating $300 to our nominated charity, Clear voice interpreting services. 

Huge thanks to our respondents and if you haven’t yet shared your website thinking, please look out for our new and improved perma-survey, which will be out soon.

If you want to talk about how your library can get more value from its website, make better use of analytics, and spark more traffic – both online and to your buildings – please get in touch. Email us or fill out our online form to learn more.

This survey is designed to grow our collective knowledge and understanding of how library websites are perceived, designed, and used. It is not about website design, but rather about the utility and purpose of your website. We want to know: what is your website for, and how successful has it been in achieving your goals?
We will summarise and share all responses with you.

DCA will donate $2 to Clear Voice for each completed survey. You’ll also have a chance to win a special prize of some delicious tea!

The information you provide will be used by DCA (Digital Content Associates Ltd) in relation to the optional prize draw, and market research purposes only. Prize Draw winners’ surnames and regions may be published. If you object to this, please email dataprotection@digitalcontentassociates.com

DCA regularly conducts library research, which is very important and valuable to all parts of our business and the library sector –  including content provision and product development. If you do not wish to participate in future public library research, there will be an option to select this at the end of the survey.

For more information on your rights and how we use your data, please see our Privacy Policy or contact dataprotection@digitalcontentassociates.com.

An example of a library website’s Google Analytics doughnut, showing where their visitors are coming from.

At DCA, we have a thing for libraries; we love public libraries and we want them to succeed. But when it comes to library websites, well our besottedness enters the realm of a disorder: We’re obsessed, we can’t lie. 

So to feed our beast we’re doing some work designed to grow our collective knowledge and understanding of how library websites are perceived, designed, and used. 

This is not about website design, we don’t care to debate button placements or colourways. But we do want to know stuff like: What’s your website for? And how successful is it in achieving your goals? What is the right ratio of service population to website visits? What represents a good library website ROI? And what’s more important, your building or your website?

We know something about this already from the clients and customers we work with, and some of that (eg what Koios knows) is pretty darned interesting.  But we want to know more, understand better, and then we’ll share.

So please look out for our library website survey (with prizes) and webinar in the coming weeks. 

It’s going to be a fun summer!

DCA Director

  • Successfully applied and won an Ad Grant via a community library
  • Brought over 40% more visitors to the library website each month
  • Exposed the library catalog to Google searches
  • 86% increase in visitors to the library’s YouTube channel

In January 2021, DCA and Koios approached Oldham libraries with an offer of a free pilot, to explore the potential of setting up a Google Ad Grant campaign for a UK library. Working with Delph Community Association, one of Oldham’s community-run branches, we were able to successfully apply for and secure an Ad Grant. 

Koios started running a Google Ads program for Oldham Library in July 2021, with major campaigns for YouTube and the library’s online catalog. A view of January 2022 shows a healthy account, which attracted over over 8,000 new visitors in 30 days, an in-kind value from Google of $9,942 (of $10,000 available monthly). Most of these new visitors were brought to the library’s online catalog, a resource which is normally invisible to regular online searches.

Koios 30-day performance dashboard, showing 8,175 clicks with in-kind value of $9,942

Bringing in New People  

Koios’ deployment of the Google Ad Grant brought 6,000 new visitors to Oldham Library’s website in the space of one month. Koios also used the Ad Grant to promote the library’s YouTube channel, which was extremely successful. The campaign started in July, 2021, and volume increased dramatically, with January 2022 impressions (number of views for the library’s YouTube ad) up 500%.

Online search is open to anyone with access to a smartphone or computer, so the people Koios bring to the library represent a broad range of communities. Demographics show a tilt toward younger people – for which YouTube clicks can take responsibility. 

Most of the people who were brought to Oldham Library’s website through this pilot were those who would not usually think of their library or know what resources it has. Through Koios, the library was able to reach a new, younger and more diverse group of users and let them know that they have what they were looking for.

Proof of Concept 

The library’s Koios-managed account generated thousands of clicks on ads, introducing new visitors to the library and its resources. 

Libraries have hundreds of thousands of individual resources that people searching online are interested in – if they can find them. Koios makes those resources visible, and reintroduces people to their own public library.

‘We are grateful to Oldham Libraries for participating in this pilot, which showed that a UK library can successfully apply for and secure an Ad Grant via associated non-profit bodies. Koios were able to help make the Ad Grant work grant work very effectively – spending nearly the full $10,000 per month that Google allocates to grantees. Our experience with Oldham proved that working with Koios can create a significant increase in discovery and visibility of library resources and programming. This in turn should help drive usage and so protect library budgets and jobs.’

Peter Velikonja of Koios

‘For libraries to survive and thrive, people have to be made aware that they exist. We wanted to show that a Google Ad Grant is a great way to reach beyond the library’s existing patron base to attract a younger, more diverse demographic. Google is where we start searching for the things we want, so it makes sense to put the library there. And we showed we can do that.’

Barney Allan of DCA London

With Koios free 60-day trial, we’ll set up and manage your Ad Grant for the trial period — and the Ad Grant is yours to keep should you decide to manage it on your own.  

Already have a Google Ad Grant? Let us do a free review with recommendations to improve performance. 

Get in touch today – 

Set up your demo call here for anytime, or meet us at PLA (booth #847).

You can also email us directly if you have any questions.

DCA’s got a thing for libraries; we think they’re great and we want them to do well. But many people outside libraryland have little idea that libraries even exist, let alone the bounteous free space, content and resources they offer. 
It bothers us that libraries are so underappreciated and underused. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to find partners that have either great content that people want to look at or great services that support library marketing. Next week we’ll be at PLA talking with librarians about FT.com and Koios, because they do both things to help libraries do better. Please join us at booth #847.

PS This ad was created by our friend Doug Kessler, one of the world’s most magic marketers. Doug is also a staunch supporter of CLEAR, the charity that provides translation services to refugees. Please join us in supporting CLEAR in their vital work at a critical time.

We’re excited to announce our new partnership with Koios on US sales. DCA represents a number of publishers in international markets, including Koios, now we have the opportunity to work with Koios in North America alongside our other key client the Financial Times’ FT.com.

Whether it’s offering compelling digital content, sharing marketplace insights, or leveraging powerful marketing tools to make a library stand out, the Koios mission is aligned with our own: helping public libraries to thrive. 

Koios allows libraries to reach new audiences – those searching the internet for information or resources, who don’t already know their library has what they need. Koios helps libraries apply for, win and manage a Google Ad Grant to promote their resources. This allows libraries to attract users from diverse demographics and varied backgrounds, enabling them to promote their resources and programming to underserved communities.

Libraries have a wealth of online resources but often struggle to make people aware of them. With Koios, you can bring new people directly to your best resources – and get more usage and a better return on investment on costly subscriptions.

We’ll be exhibiting at PLA in Portland later this month. We’re giving away free tea and a 60-day no-obligation Koios trial; we’ll set up and manage your Ad Grant for the trial period — and the Ad Grant is yours to keep should you decide to manage it on your own.  If you already have a Google Ad Grant we’re offering a free review to improve performance. 

Get in touch today – 

Set up your demo callhere for anytime, or meet us at PLA (booth #847).

You can also email us directly if you have any questions.

DCA is delighted to be launching the Medici.tv service with The British Library. Starting in 2022, British Library cardholders will have unlimited access to over 3,500 musical works from the 1940s through to the present day, as well as over 150 live-streamed performances each year and 3,000 films including concerts, documentaries, opera, ballet and masterclasses – all in high definition.

‘The British Library joins Medici’s global subscriber base which includes prestigious public libraries such as Helsinki, City of London, Edinburgh City, Brighton, several Irish library authorities, and libraries throughout Cornwall and Lancashire. Medici have recently enhanced the lay-out and functionality of the site which offers a first-class experience for classical and jazz music lovers.’

Barney Allan, Founder, DCA London

Interest in online resources for leisure and relaxation has seen a huge increase over the past two years. As more people are affected by rising costs and financial insecurity, public libraries are becoming an essential source of entertainment and information.

Helsinki City’s Helmet Library system subscribed to Medici.tv in August and have seen strong
usage of the service. Tuija Kalke, Information Specialist, Helsinki City Library said: ‘Medici is a superior music video streaming service, a treasure trove of classical music with an enticing interface and top quality sound, vision and content. It is beautiful.’

For more information on what Medici.TV offers for your library, see here.

Niche Academy helps you create elegant online tutorial experiences, making things easier for both instructors and learners.

Engaging users and supporting children’s learning

Lancashire library needed to reach users during lockdowns; they created custom quizzes which were a huge hit with both children and adults, driving users to interact with the library’s other resources.

The library used Niche to create a suite of homeschooling resources, storytimes and support material for their digital inclusion project.  

“Our public academy has been invaluable for our Library at Home service.”

Training staff and volunteers

Hertfordshire Libraries’ Community Services team were able to employ their Niche Academy to make training and information for volunteers returning to community libraries more accessible and streamlined, at a challenging time when staff couldn’t do face to face training. 

“Niche saved the day and definitely helped to speed up the process of re-opening our volunteer libraries this year. I genuinely don’t know how we would have managed without it.”

Niche offers libraries multiple academies to serve different user groups, which both Lancashire and Hertfordshire took advantage of with academies for staff, public, students, volunteers, local authority teams and more.  

Improving discovery and loans

Niche Academy provides several different ways of connecting library users to e-resources and their tutorials. Westminster opted for an eye-catching carousel on their homepage, showing users the wide range of e-resources and tutorials available to them.

If you want to learn more about how Niche can support your library’s success, get in touch for a free trial.

We’re delighted to welcome Rock’s Backpages to DCA’s pantheon. Rock’s Backpages is the world’s largest database of music journalism online, featuring over 45,000 articles on thousands of artists from the Beatles to Taylor Swift. 

“An essential acquisition for public libraries”. – Library Journal

The articles are full text, from primary sources and fully searchable by artist, date, genre, publication and key word. They are taken from the widest possible range of publications in the US and UK: from Creem and Rolling Stone to NME and MOJO.

Rock’s Backpages also features a library of over 750 audio interviews, including classic conversations with musical giants such as Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Freddie Mercury, Patti Smith, Bob Marley, David Bowie, Kate Bush, Marvin Gaye, Kurt Cobain, Fleetwood Mac and many more.
Over 50 new text articles and one audio interview are added to the database every week.
This service will appeal to old rockers and young guns alike. 

Contact us today for your library’s free trial.

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