I came across this report via Sally Pewhairangi and found it to be really interesting reading.
The report is based on a survey that was run in the UK about how mobile technologies are being used in libraries, or as they call it M-Library (I guess E-libraries are so passé now…). It really got me thinking about what I would be interested in using as a consumer (patron, customer….).
SMS communications to notify overdue items etc seems pretty straightforward but as far as I’m aware my local library is not using them. What a simple idea, especially when you’re not checking your emails so often. Also, if you’re like me, you’re having trouble keeping track of all the loans for the family (a pile of books for each kid, a dvd or two, novels, cookbooks, the odd magazine….) as well as varying loan periods for different formats.
Having a mobile website and catalogue seems pretty obvious these days as well. More and more people are using their phone for their instantaneous internet browsing. However, what I have to say I find most interesting is the development of a library app where I could check my current holdings, renew, search and reserve items, see if I have any fines, etc. Other possible functionality the report mentions is reserving PC’s for use and ‘Ask a Librarian’ chat. I don’t think I’m the only one who would love this kind of app, even outside of library staff there are plenty of library geeks 😉 I guess in order to put time and resources into these kinds of apps for public libraries it would depend on the demographics and smart-phone usage in the area but at least in the near future it would seem that this is the way things are headed and it’s time to jump on board.