I found this interesting article thanks to the I Heart Libraries Facebook page and though I would share it here with my thoughts. It details some the ideas from a recent Pew Internet survey about the kinds of services patrons wish to see in libraries for the future.
1. Apps based access to library materials and programs: With the abundance of smart phones, this is a great idea! What a great way to take the library with you and have quick access to the library’s catalog, hours, and to ask quick reference questions. You could even renew materials and place holds just as you can on a library’s website.
2. Access to technology “petting zoos” to try out new devices: Many libraries have already begun doing this with tablets, Kindles, Nooks, and smart phones so I’m not surprised to see it here. It’s a wonderful idea to introduce patrons to new tech and let them learn about it and try it out before decided if they wish to purchase it. And what better place than the library to learn?
3. GPS navigation Apps to help patrons locate materials in the library: Great idea! Navigating the stacks of a library, especially a large university library is not easy! I nearly got lost when trying to find my way to the Library Science section of USFs library last year. And I’m a student librarian! An App to pinpoint just wish aisle something is in would be great, alas, I think it just might be a bit much to ask. As collections grow, shelf shifting happens. What was once on the top shelf could end up on the bottom, or even in the middle or end of the row.
4. “Redbox” style lending machines or kiosks located throughout the community, where people can check out books, movies or music without having to go to the library itself: This is already a reality in some places. There are usually not located around the community though. From what I understand they are usually outside the library for after hours use. This one thing I’m not so sure on. It does seem to be a good way to get rid of the physical brick and mortar libraries, however, I think if they were place in areas where there wasn’t a library near by might be a good idea.
5. “Amazon”-style customized book/audio/video recommendation schemes that are based on patrons’ prior library behavior: This is a good idea and has been brought up in the discussion board from one of my classes. A catalog that allows for suggestions based on what a patron has previously checked out is a great idea. I know I would like it!
Hopefully these things might become reality some day.