A Look Into Your Library’s Future


In my March 1, 2011 Post A Look Into Your Future I presented some examples of how the touch-screen computer interface technology was reshaping the way humans interact with computers. A couple of weeks ago I Posted Digital Discovery – A New 21st Century Library Skill where I discussed how creating a digital experience “in” the library using something like 3M’s “intuitive touch interface …Terminals let readers find and check out digital content at the library” could draw customers through your doors.

Make no mistake about it, technology is changing the face of society, including your library – assuming you want to remain in business.

Last week while I was launching Scoop.It for 21st Century Libraries news service, I came across more evidence that technology is changing your library. Smartphones Replacing Old-Fashioned Library Cards reports on how Catawba County (NC) Library System has provided a smartphone app to customers – 82,000 so far – to interface with the library.

The free app provides a searchable list of titles, and users can also renew items, place items on hold and check their account status.

“[Patrons] can then go and pick the item up at their library; they don’t have to pull it off the shelves themselves,” said Regina Reitzel, a Catawba County information services librarian. “They can also see how many books they have out.”

AND, just to prove that it’s not a fad, the article goes on to point out that….

Other systems, such as the Warren County, N.J., Library, have also released library services through the LS2 Mobile app.

Santa Clara County, Calif., provides library services via mobile devices through its SCCL Mobile tool. The tool allows patrons to locate libraries as well as find library hours of operation. Through a text message feature, patrons can receive library contact information through the tool’s Ask a Librarian feature.

In June, Los Angeles Public Library staff announced that its Silver Lake branch was the first public library to launch a smartphone app that provides a self-checkout feature. With the MyMobileLibrary app, patrons can securely check out items from anywhere within the library.

Some libraries are also supporting apps like CardStar and KeyRing [see video below], which allow a smartphone to store the bar-code data for a library card. In essence, the smartphone becomes the library card. [Emphasis added.]
Government Technology Aug 3, 2011


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Boulder (CO) Public Library has even provided a YouTube tutorial for its customers to learn to use their library’s mobile app.


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Does this sound like the future of your library? Maybe it should!

2 Comments

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2 responses to “A Look Into Your Library’s Future

  1. I’ve been thinking about libraries and tech recently, when I ran across this. (I’m working on applying to a MLIS program.)
    It worries me to see smartphone apps as library cards- what does that do to economic divisions and the ideal democratic nature of the library?

    • Sorry, I’m at a loss to recognize a problem.
      Some of the apps so far have been created for specific libraries at their request.
      Having library service available on a mobile device seems like a good thing to me.
      Maybe you could elaborate a bit RE: your concern.

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