10 Ways Digital Disruption Can Yield Future Library Management
Dee Hock has it right doesn’t she? That is one reason it is difficult to define the future library management, isn’t it? But we have no choice. Digital disruption and internet technologies are roaring ahead and we are forced to act now. Like Dee Hock says: The problem is never to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get the old ones out. Like in the future of library management.
Check out our thoughts on building innovation.
Once again, the net turns things upside down. Digital disruption is roaring very loud. We have transitioned from a time where information was scarce and precious to today where information is vast and readily available, and in most cases, free.
No need for tax money to buy reference books. We need to spend the money on leaders, sherpas and teachers. People capable of pushing everyone to get very aggressive in finding and using information. And like Seth Godin says, building tribes of like thinkers.
Libraries are no longer just places to check out a book or to do homework; they can be meeting places, media centers, digital repositories, and much more.
Related post: Generating Ideas by Convergent Thinking
So here is the question. What are the ideas that will make libraries more relevant and more valuable in the digital age? Ideas that will be the foundation of the library of the future.
Let’s examine 10 ideas:
Crowdsource new library roles
Begin the process of testing patron’s opinions, ideas, thoughts, and figure out how to get at the heart of the things that matter most in your community. Survey both the community at large and the people who walk through the library doors.
Social media has already started ingraining itself as integral to the gathering opinions. It also makes it easier than ever for libraries to receive feedback about what sort of programming the community wants most, suggestions about how to improve offerings, and about what books need to make their way to the library. Hosting online discussions certainly holds its merits as well!
So turn towards crowdsourcing, hosting focus groups, and opening up to suggestions from professionals and patrons.
Emphasis on collaboration
On the digital front, all libraries have the same goals on creating digital repositories. So it is essential for all libraries to collaborate on technology standards and creating digital books and e-books for their repositories. All sorts of ideas for the library of the future can be shared. Then each local library can decide which ones are best for them.
Library of the future … partnerships for the tasks ahead
There are many businesses building their future on digitization of books. Obviously Amazon stands out above the crowd. It would be good for the American Library Association build a partnership with Amazon and others on technology and the book repositories. It could be a great win-win for all.
Transition to digital repository
Libraries have already begun replacing their physical inventories with digital ones. It is not difficult to envision in a decade or so, 70 -80% of physical assets will disappear.
Probably the most obvious library requirement involves more seamless integration of digital technologies at a faster, more sophisticated pace than even now. With so many exciting new gadgets and concepts such as eBook readers, tablet PCs, open source, and more, they have plenty of resources on hand to meet community demands. Investments in these resources need to be made so as to provide loaners to library patrons in need.
The community cultural hub
The notion of becoming a cultural center is an expansive role for the future library. A culture-based library is one that taps into the spirit of the community, assessing priorities and providing resources to support the things deemed most important. The library of the future will be charged with developing an overall strategy that reflects the identity and personality of its own local constituency.
Library management … embrace new technologies
New tech products are being introduced on a daily basis and the vast majority of people need help when it comes to deciding on what to use and what to avoid. Since no organization has stepped up to take the lead in helping the general public understand new technology, it becomes a perfect opportunity for libraries. Libraries need to become a resource for as well as the experts in each of the new technologies. They can draw on volunteer technology experts from their local communities to learn from as well as teaching classes to the general public.
Continuous learning centers
The environment of change today requires continuous learning. While there is ample information from the internet, it is not easily converted into an environment for continuous learning. Drawing on local professional expertise, the library must become the center for continuous learning
Experiment with creative spaces
With the vast reduction of physical library assets, there will be lots of new space available in the library. We recommend that libraries put together creative spaces so staff members, library users, and the community at large can experiment and determine what ideas are drawing attention and getting traction. Some possible uses for these creative spaces include:
Digital media labs
Theater-drama practice rooms
Library management skills … the digital librarian
As we achieve the ability to conduct more and more complicated searches for the information we need, the role of the librarian to assist in finding this kind of information also becomes more and more important. People will not have the time and skills necessary to keep up on each new innovation in the search world, and they will need a competent professional to turn to. The digital librarian.
Novel new ideas
An NFC (near field communication) tagged library allows patrons to research books before removing them from the shelf. Likewise, many government and businesses use QR codes for consumers to easily download free e-books.
Library technology vendors 3M and Overdrive have both come out with physical kiosks that act as a digital portal to library offerings from patrons.
With these innovations being adopted by library systems in the U.S. and around the world, is it only a matter of time before we see a library space that looks more like a digital playground than a house of books?
The library system probably won’t disappear anytime soon; but rather, see itself blossoming into something new and exciting in congruence with today’s myriad informational demands.
What do you think of these ideas for the library of the future? Please leave a comment or another idea below.
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of business. Find him on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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