Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thing 15: The future of libraries

Fascinating stuff; I read all of it. Here are a few of the important points regarding Library 2.0:
  • Customers expect access to all types of collections -- audio, digital, video, print -- journals, books, blogs, podcasts, audiobooks -- from where ever they happen to be at the moment, available from a multitude of devices, including small screen, mobile, and wireless. Physical collections as we know them today may no longer exist.
  • Customers want to get the information they need as quickly as possible and in one place. It is the job of the library to provide that access and create services that are easy to find, integrated, intuitive, and fast "so they can spend as little time as possible wrestling with lousy search interfaces and as much time as possible actually reading and learning."
  • "We have to ... find new ways to bring our services to patrons rather than insisting that they come to us—whether physically or virtually. At a minimum, this means placing library services and content in the user’s preferred environment (i.e., the Web); even better, it means integrating our services into their daily patterns of work, study and play."
  • "Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies." It is our job to keep up with the market or, better yet, be one step ahead.
Our challenge is to learn what customers want and need by involving them in the design process of library services and by listening to them at all times. They want accessibility, convenience, participation, and personalization via the means they use in other aspects of their lives. It is the job of the library to hear what customers have to say, respond quickly and pro-actively, look for trends, and think of creative ways to integrate new technology to strengthen the library's role in the community of users. Wikipedia's Beta is forever sums it up.

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