Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bringing the library system into the 21st century kicking and screaming

Library usage over the past few years is down (though up recently for internet options due to the economic crisis).

Is there much point in spilling electrons on how and why people feel libraries are a dying breed? Sure, I can write a lot of "blah blah blah" on how antiquated they are, but the obvious basic point is that the relevancy of the concept has dwindled, and libraries need to pull themselves into the 21st century.

And to an extent, they are (see the image above, which is yes ironic that someone writes a book about online collaboration for libraries).

To the point

Why doesn’t your library have an iPhone app? Seems like an easy way to present the library and its services in a more approachable and modern manner, as well as putting access to the library catalog in their hands*.

The DC Public Library System has announced an iPhone app, why can't other library systems? At most all you need to do is develop an app that will provide library locations and a look into the catalog. This would be pretty great.

Taking it a step further, what if you could integrate into RedLaser so people could scan a book at a Border's and determine if the library has it as well? Why pay $15 for a book when you can get it for free at the library, or $1 in several days of late fees...

Why aren't more libraries putting up Fan pages on Facebook? Chris Brogan has a great item on how small local business can use Facebook, wouldn't you call a Library a small local business? And WebWorkerDaily has a great item on what will and won't work on Facebook pages.

* I haven't fully figured out why an iPhone specific app is better than a general web app, it doesn't inherently make sense to me. But that's where the industry is now, and will continue to go with iPad specific apps. 

Pictures in order:
  1. by Here's Kate
  2. by librarianmer

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