Technology Timelime/Roadmap: Queens Virtual Library

The following encompasses a timeline overview of Queens Library's Virtual Library System. Walk through it to learn how Queens Library overcame adversity to find a fresh direction in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Also note our commitment to enter the future with a say in our own destiny.

The existence of Queens Virtual Library bridges the digital divide in our communities, bringing advances of the commercial markets to libraries, better overall customer experience, and improved decision-making across the board for any modern library system.

Find out how we are attempting to increase customer satisfaction with all our public touchpoints, while leaving hard-to-use library industry tools in the dustbin of history.

Nick accepts ALA award 2014

Awards We Have Received

  • NYS Governor Broadband Champion Award
  • ALA Library of the Future Award
  • NYLA Mobile Best Practices Award

Stage 1: 2013 - 2014

Quarter 1

A Mobile Solution as a response to a tragedy

Queens Library was already engaged in talks with various partners about our plans for seamless digital eContent and service delivery. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Queens Library and other surrounding libraries learned that we would be receiving Google Tablets. Queens Library makes the critical decision to invest in developing its own custom tablet interface and discovery layer, featuring Queens Library programs and services. These customized devices will extend the reach of the library system where physical facilities were hampered or destroyed by the storm.

Quarter 2

Intense focus on what our patrons need

Early concept drawings and prototypes are debated and enhanced. Queens Library project teams are developed, and a wide net is cast in the exploration of systems or lending models that might serve as an example. Extensive discussions explore all staff roles and workflows to ensure that tablets can be distributed to the public and re-provisioned to new patrons as needed. Investigation into developing our own custom Android Hardware ROM, security profiles, and specification of mobile device management software begins in earnest. Guiding principles are established requiring that technology be agnostic to operating system and user experiences, and would focus on core audiences and available materials.

Quarter 3

"Discovery and Delivery" Platform comes alive

Queens Library receives a shipment of 5,000 Google Nexus 7 tablets. Early drafts of the specification for the Queens Library "Discovery and Delivery" Platform are released internally, and software development starts. The platform touches all aspects of library's services (that make sense to package in a compact mobile experience.) Access to community resources, displacement support, and other Sandy-related issues are weaved into the tablet presentation. In addition, access to legacy library services such as requesting print books, searching and registering for programs, exploring the Internet, and downloading eBooks and digital audiobooks are actively developed.

Quarter 4

Platform comes online for Superstorm Sandy Anniversary

The "Discovery and Delivery" Platform prototype for the tablet lending program starts to take shape and undergoes numerous iterative quality assurance reviews. This includes UI/UX analysis by the project team and feature testing teams across the Queens Library organization. Deployment plans are outlined and the process of training community branch managers and technology specialists begins. Queens Library holds a media event to announce the project to the public. Feedback channels are established across Queens Library's 60+ locations. Queen Library's technology staff brings online a specialized SSID Wi-Fi network exclusively for tablets, and a massive push to phase in increased network bandwidth capacity for tablet lending locations begins to match the tablet deployment schedule. Work on Queens Library's "Bring Your Own Device" Mobile Application targeted for Google Play store and Apple iTunes begins.

Stage 2: 2014 - 2015

Quarter 1

Tablet lending has healthy launch, eyes shift to patron mobile devices

Queens Library technical staff and training teams canvass lending locations and do on-site training and monitoring with front-line librarian staff. Mobile Development teams now shift focus to "BYOD" Application that inherits many features of the tablet program. Queens Library unofficially launches mobile phone app to Google Play Store and iTunes Store to staff, industry professionals, and friends for review in real-world load testing. General enhancements, quality assurance, and issue tracking and testing continue.

Quarter 2

BYOD Application officially launches

Queens Library's mobile phone application is officially launched via an email marketing campaign. Focus is on delivery of eBooks and digital audiobooks. Work continues on enhancing platform and features, including the addition of eMagazines.

Quarter 3

ALA Conference, Planning Improvements

BYOD adoption continues. We are very proud to receive the Library of the Future Award at the ALA Annual 2014 Conference for our tablet platform. In addition, we are happy to be invited to co-present at an American Library Association off-site event with Baker and Taylor about our co-development efforts and the leveraging of their APIs for streamlined discovery and delivery.

Quarter 4

Taking things to the next level

As we start to close the book on our "version one" specification, we look to our feedback channels to garner features or improvements demanded by the public, and start to formulate round two of what is now becoming Queens Virtual Library platform. Project teams start viewing disparate technology projects or this "proof of concept" as a unified platform, and consolidate lessons learned. It is through this lens that "2.0" of the platform starts to take shape, and discussion of fee payments, multiple renewals, wishlists, and more app requests begins. Queens Library announces extending the tablet lending program beyond Superstorm Sandy affected areas of Queens.

Stage 3: 2015 - 2016

Quarter 1

Better Performance, Better Product

Queens Virtual Library development teams focus on future-proofing some cloud infrastructure pieces and responding to some user-experience issues seen in everyday use of the platform. Our infrastructure team continue to roll out improvements to our network hardware for performance gains. In addition, fee payments, multiple renewals, and faster tablet device provisioning are prototyped, tested, and deployed.

Quarter 2

Meeting Patron Demands

Going into quarter two and quarter three of 2015 we are targeting officially releasing "2.0" of the "Discovery and Delivery" Platform in the form of Queens Library's Tablet Interface for our tablet device lending program and our Queens Library Mobile User Application (BYOD.) These public channels embody many of the high-demand features our users shared that they missed in the mobile experience yet currently enjoy on our website. In addition, internal development on UI/UX and performance enhancements to our website are on the way to bring parity with the mobile platform.

Quarter 3

Changing the way things are done

At this point we will have 30 months of experience towards Queens Virtual Library.

Quarter 4

Reader Development, Integrated Catalog

Thirty three months of experience and counting! We will have interesting things to announce. Stay tuned!