New Face for the BPL

The Boston Public Library recently unveiled a new design for their website, as well as a series of print, television and radio ads promoting the library. I took a look at the ads, and I have to say that I like them — especially the print ads, which are cheeky and informal. All of them (well, except perhaps the radio voice over) feature actual BPL librarians. In the TV ads, they’re talking about what they know, how they compare to search engines, and how they do their work — but in a friendly, not-boring-you-to-death kind of way. For example, in one of them the librarian is rattling off some random facts that he knows, and then he says “I know how to clear a room — take me to trivia night.” The TV ads also have a series of line drawings that illustrate what the librarian is saying, which gives them some interest (otherwise, you’d just be watching a talking head). I had seen one of them in July, when I got a super-secret back-room tour of a couple of BPL offices, but I had completely forgotten to try and keep an eye out for the launch of the new site & ads. (Good thing someone sent me the link!)

As for the website, it’s been long enough since I was regularly using the BPL’s website that I can’t really make a good comparison to the previous incarnation. What I can say is that I like the design, and it seems like it is pretty easy to navigate and get to what you’re looking for. The redesign includes a search box in the banner that defaults to searching the library catalog, which I think is a handy feature. Also in the banner is a drop down menu with “How do I find” as the default value — that gives folks an easy way to find some of the most frequently-viewed pages, no matter where they are on the site. (And without cluttering up the navigation in the banner!) Continue reading