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Improving communication through the Library's Intranet

Seattle Public Library

Innovation Leader: Angela Christofferson, Web / Intranet Developer, angela.christofferson@spl.org

Problem Statement

Communicating important information to Library employees is challenging as employees work in multiple locations, on various schedules and in different divisions. With the launch of an Intranet in April 2009, The Seattle Public Library moved away from e-mail and toward the Intranet as its main communications channel. Using e-mailing to distribute organizational information decreases productivity, consistency and accuracy as each staff member must keep track of this information. We created several innovative ways to help employees keep current on what is going on and to encourage Library-wide conversations.

Innovation

We have implemented the following communications tools on infoNET, the Library’s Intranet:
  • News and Announcements: All managers throughout the Library post news items that are important and system-wide
  • Message Board: A blog where any staff member can post or comment on ‘bulletin board’ types of information like comings and goings, major life events or achievements, events happening around the city, etc.
  • infoTALK: A moderated online discussion forum that offers the opportunity for Library employees to connect and share knowledge. All employees can post topics or comment in three categories.
  • Susan’s Corner: A blog written by the City Librarian
  • Urgent Notices: Staff alerts on closures, outages or emergencies
  • All Staff Calendar: Keeps track of major staff meetings, events and emergency contacts for the day

Progress

Employee feedback has been positive and web site usage statistics show employees are using the communication tools:
  • In January 2010, infoTALK received 5,726 page views, News & Announcements 12,549, Message Board 7,959 and Susan’s Corner 2,507.
  • Employees are better informed about what is going on. Like every library, we have faced challenging times during the recession and effective communication is important to Library success. An informed staff provides better Library services.
  • Information flows in multiple directions. Managers seek feedback from employees and employees can contribute their ideas. Divisions can learn more about each other.
  • Employees are more engaged. They share and connect with people who they don’t work with on a daily basis, which builds community.