New Wayfarer Platform Helps Patrons Navigate Library Resources

Thursday, September 29, 2022
person using laptop

A Kansas City Public Library card gives patrons access to a tremendous number of resources well beyond our hundreds of thousands of books. Cardholders can take advantage of employment resources; streaming service for movies, audiobooks, and music; genealogy and other types of historic research; in-person events throughout the week, and much more.

In fact, the Library offers so many services and tools on so many platforms, that the bounty can feel overwhelming and difficult to navigate.

While we are always happy to help either in person or online, we’re now also offering a personalized digital navigation tool called Wayfarer. Patrons can create an account and access help 24 hours a day from anywhere.

This service is unique to the Kansas City Public Library.

For instance, through a series of short questions, job seekers get assistance tailored to where they are in the process, whether that’s searching for a job, writing or refining a resume, learning how to give a good interview, or negotiating a salary.

Virtual Resources Librarian Diana Platt was on the Wayfarer planning team. She says, “I originally kind of envisioned it like a Buzzfeed quiz, where we’d ask: What kind of information are you looking for today? Are you looking for DIY stuff, because you're Ron Swanson?”

However, as Wayfarer developed, it changed into something more like a choose-your-own-adventure book, according to Kim Gile, the Library’s community specialists leader.

She says, “Wayfarer gives us an opportunity to upsell things that people wouldn't otherwise run into.” That is, it connects users with resources they didn’t know existed.

So, if 10 students log in for help with classwork, they will open 10 different paths as Wayfarer guides them based on how they answer the questions. Same for people seeking streaming entertainment or information about a long-lost ancestor.

The automated platform is based on St. Louis entrepreneur and attorney Chris Daming’s LegalGPS, which he developed several years ago to guide businesses through legal issues they wanted to address on their own.

Kansas City Public Library staff from several departments wrote and developed each of the currently available paths, and Daming built Wayfarer accordingly.

Get immediate help navigating the Online Library, which includes all media, homework help, research, and assistance for students of all ages and abilities; Job Seeker, mentioned above; LegalGPS legal help for small businesses; and help using one of the Library’s Chromebooks. Please note that Chromebook assistance is tailored to users of Library-provided Chromebooks.

Watch the platform for new, exciting paths that’ll reveal even more resources and opportunities to explore.

Try it Now!