PLA’s Virtual Spring Symposium

I’m attending the technical track this morning – Mobile Feast: Reaching Library Customers via Mobile Technology and Can Your Library Provide the Electronic Content That People Want and Need. I’ll just summarize both of them in this post, rather than trying to do two at once.

The twitter hashtag for the sessions is #plavss11.

Michael Casey and Christopher Baker started off with a discussion of mobile technology and how to reach patrons. 47% of mobile consumers use connected media – they expect immediate access via the device they choose, they expect it to be easy to use from their device and they expect the resources and functionality of the site. Libraries need to consider cost of delivery for all of this as well as staffing new points of service in the mobile arena.
Michael Casey discussed the use of Library Anywhere which lets your patrons search your catalog – may be a cheaper alternative to III’s airpac (their mobile product). Christopher mentioned the need to make it optional – don’t force tablet users to the mobile site. They also discussed the LibGuide feature that makes a mobile site from each of the guides natively.
Where do you start? With vendors that have mobile sites – Overdrive, Database Apps (Ebsco, etc). The fact that you can’t opt out of Overdrive’s mobile site in the iPad (for example) was mentioned. Bad design.
They discussed the challenges of SMS reference. They use LibAnswers.
They’d like to see increased ILS interoperability, fewer difficulties in creating seamless design transitions. There are limitations of downloadable content, a cost for delivery of this, staffing mobile services appropriately, and understanding shifting points of service.
They also discussed what we control vs. what we don’t. The most important thing we don’t control is the tool that the user chooses to access our services.
Michael started with a Libraries = Community + Content. He showed a slide that shows that 90% of the US population averages $31,244 a year. Reuse space – more digital content means more space for libraries.
He talked about the future of DVDs (see Netflix and Redbox) – libraries should be considering what we will do when movies are only streaming?
Next he showed an info graphic about how Netflix killed Blockbuster. He thinks we need to do what Netflix does – what if we could provide the content to the patrons as well as Netflix.
It’s a question of content access – libraries have to provide access as easily as Netflix and Amazon.
Save Libraries – – Library Renewal
ALA EQUACC – ALA presidential task force on equitable access to electronic content –

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