Final Thoughts from Internet Librarian 2008
I’ve had an entire day on the airplane (got up at 3am to catch a 6am flight) to sort through all of the diverse areas of information I picked up at Internet Librarian. While I went there with the intent of focusing on podcasting and videocasting, I came away with much more. If I had to sum up the message of the vast majority of presenters, I have just one word for you – MOBILE. We’ve become an increasingly mobile society with a huge segment of the population using their smart phones not only to communicate vocally but also texting and instant messaging. They have GPS installed on them to find good restaurants, bookstores and, yes, even the location of libraries. Look for more phones like iPhones to be released soon – Have you seen the G1 yet – Google’s response to Apple was released less than a month ago.
What does this have to do with our libraries? Well, Overdrive is now giving our local patrons the option to be text-messaged when a book becomes available. This is faster than email. Would it be possible for patrons to be texted when a book request is there for them? What about a text message when a new book by their favorite author is ordered. It’s just a short jump from chat reference to SMS text reference. There are libraries out there currently doing all of these things. At PDL, we may not implement them now, but as word gets out, our patrons will want one or more of these services down the road.
So what can we do as librarians to get ready for this demand. Well, first of all, I’m hoping I can pursuade my fellow workers to become familiar with SMS either by reading about it, or by using it themselves. I think initial resistance to new technologies comes from a fear of the unknown as well as a fear it will mean more work for everyone. It may very well mean one more thing added to our job duties, but we have to continue reaching out to our patrons where they live, work, and play.