Challenges Facing the Modern Library
Without the right technology solution in place, information discovery at the library can be fragmented and confusing. Often times, access to content is distributed across such a wide range of difficult to navigate applications that patrons aren’t even fully aware of the breadth and depth of resources available to them.
Fragmented and Hard to Access Content
There are so many options for resources and content that many patrons get confused with multiple log-ins, poorly executed third party add-ons, subscription databases and eResources.
Many users opt towards cost based resources that give them quick and easy access to the content that they are looking for when it was available at their library.
Lack of Access to Community Services
Progressive libraries are leveraging automation technology to address the needs of constituents throughout their community in ways never before done.
Whether used as a community center, a media center for K-12 students, a way to self publish new works, a health resource or to help build skills for resume writing and new job training.
Libraries are using technology to better serve their communities by incorporating new features within their system to:
- Support for K-12 Students - create linkages between school and public library collections to support accelerated reader programs and to manage the influx of students to the library with school libraries closing due to lack of budget.
- Health Services - offer health services within the library in which a patron can use technology to book an appointment with a licensed nurse for basic care and assessments.
- Job Skills and Support - reserve spots for new job training or resume writing seminars and one on one coaching sessions.
- Self Publication - with the publishing industry such as it is, many would be authors are at a loss for where to start. From retired teachers wanting to write a book on their area of expertise, to local authors and area specialists looking to share their knowledge with the world – the library can be a starting point to generate books on demand and to share those works locally, nationally and internationally.
E-book Availability & Accessibility
With the flood in the availability of ebook readers and the accessibility of ebooks, libraries have the opportunity to shape the ways in which eContent is accessed through the library.
While many of the options below aren’t available today, progressive libraries are joining together and partnering with technology companies like Auto-Graphics and posing questions about the future eContent delivery. Including the the possibility of offering patrons both free and cost based services much in the way some libraries charge to rent DVDs.
New models are being discussed such as:
- Allowing a patron to place a hold for free but offering a fee to move them up in the queue.
- If the library doesn’t own an ebook title perhaps a patron could rent it and then donate it back to the library.
- Adding ebook copies temporarily on a cost basis to the patron to rent the title and once a threshold is reached the library in effect purchases the ebook.