Instant Ideas and Collaboration

Summary 20th October – The Future of Libraries

Q1. How will/does the use of self-service machines affect libraries?

  • Changes the dynamic between staff and patrons
  • When first introduced customer / staff interaction is usually increased
  • Enables more time for staff to focus on supporting student learning
  • Frees up staff to do other tasks and eventually might end “librarian as bookstamper” stereotype
  • Can spend more quality time with customers
  • Can offer more services and have more time to explain them
  •  In theory as lower skilled jobs disappear staff can move on to higher skilled jobs. But in practice staff are worried they will be relocated in current economic climate
  • Complete reorganisation of staff – roving support etc.
  • Reduced staffing a possibility
  • Big challenge for managers when RFID is introduced
  • Important for managers to give staff clear idea of their changed job role post-RFID
  • Makes libraries seem more up-to-date. Some patrons see this as positive, some don’t .
  • Need to have good relationship with suppliers
  • Depends how people define libraries – if  defined as somewhere just to get stock, could affect heavily
  • Depends if introduced as service enhancement or cost-cutting measures
  • Impact of smartphones and smartcards, and RFID will go beyond self-service
  • Loss of a source of tacit knowledge – though cafes etc can make library more human
  • Will need to find other ways to engage with patrons
  • Technology will lead to a better library service – is anyone measuring this as a goal?
  • RFID Technology may be superceded by QR codes (or is it the other way round!?)
  • Possibility of more theft of materials?
  • Interesting data on RFID here http://t.co/orDOLu25
 Q2 What effect will ebooks have on hard copy purchasing?
  • E-books will coexist with hard copy. Many patrons not interested in ereaders or can’t afford them
  • Hard copy purchasing won’t decrease dramatically any time soon
  • Need to break the hold on Kindle / Amazon ebook model quickly, as predominant use of public libraries is book loans
  • Importance of children’s books for public libraries – and kids ebooks are lacking at the moment
  • Depends on type of library
  • Mix of formats required, partly due to problems with licensing
  • How will things change when there is more creativity with ebooks – not just PDFs?
  • Librarians should get involved with publishing to change things
  • Interesting blog on how Amazon is screwing libraries http://t.co/gVlb2p5V
  • Limited promotion at the moment on ebooks, but could potentially reach new users
  •  Libraries should not provide a service where a feasible commercial service provides the same (1964 Act). Amazon not free.
  • Ebboks can be difficult in corporate environment but will be well-received
Q3 What changes to job roles do you foresee?
  •  Greater facilitation, help members create content, become credible/authoritative source on social media
  • Librarian job role in constant state of flux
  • Public libraries – staff need to be comfortable working with children as that is the more successful part of the service
  • Redeployment or smart management will use free staff to provide added value services
  • More of this sort of job (library and social media assistant) http://t.co/hV4bTBK4
  • Outreach important for public libraries
  • Some HE libraries – super-convergence. Learning support and employability more important
  • Greater potential for reader development, including social reading
  • More back-office knowledge work
  • More involvement in special projects e.g. http://t.co/kXQRQH9a
  • Creating own content using our own expertise
  • Embedding librarians into workplace
  • More personal service provided
  • Collaborative approach – have to be able to turn your hand to anything, not just one speciality
  • Even job titles change – library no longer even part of job title
Q4 Do you expect any new sectors to expand and make use of information pros as information needs grow?
  • Information architecture
  • Space librarian http://t.co/DM4M82jA
  •  Need to find new sectors and new groups to work with. Can’t expect them to come to us. Must be proactive!
  • Public library staff doing lots of new things but creating new roles out of these is difficult because of the cost
  • Computerised stock management
  •  A major problem is that librarians are associated with the tools they use, not the results they achieve (Ed.: I think this is easily the quote of this week’s #uklibchat)
Q5 What is the value to the nation of public libraries in the modern age?
  • Where to start!?
  • When you are unemployed and benefits are cut, a library is the best source of information, and its an open place free for all
  • Collective memory, free education
  • Skills to handle and manage information
  • One of the few public spaces you don’t have to have money to go in and use
  •  A public space with no bar to entry where no-one will tell you what to do or expect you to buy. Totally unique
  • Local studies (often not available online)
  • The IFLA / UNESCO declaration says it all! http://bit.ly/6kTL Also see  http://bit.ly/rI7Nk1
  • Please come up with a list as per Monty Python’s What has the Romans ever done for us!
  • Look internationally to see what they are doing to keep relevant
  • It’s a civic space, with value & role defined by members
  • Interesting use of libraries in modern age mentioned at #libcampuk11 http://t.co/BUgyu1pd
  • People will want to invest in countries that kept their skills and expertise. So education matters
  •  Student said he would have never got the grades he did if not for quiet study space & resources in public library
  • Internet access is vital
  •  Song about why libraries are necessary http://t.co/Nf4YENMi
  • Serendipity
  • Value lies in librarians rather than libraries
  • Mixture of people and the resources in it
  • 3 legged stool analogy of resources, space, support provided by staff. Stool useless without all 3!
Q6 Having looked at the role of the libraries in the modern age,what are the goals for the future?
Q7 Given those goals, looking at the situation on the ground, what are the libraries strengths and what opportunities are there?
  • Sector needs to be proactive and get much better at marketing, PR
  • Best “literary ecosystem” on the planet
  • Survival
  • Need to make the non-users believe in us and offer them something to entice them in
  • Must be relevant by having information skills the public need
  • Increase market share of users – this is what local authorities judge us on
  •  Listen to what is wanted don’t just dictate, engage, be proactive, be bold
  • Need to link with more schools. See Michael Rosen comment bit.ly/fsgNMd
  • Librarians are there to empower users. We need to have power to do that, & that comes from users themselves. Beneficial circle. Show users we can save them cash etc
  • Opportunities for libraries to be providers of e-books, other digital resources
  •  “Academic librariess here to enable & enhance learning in all forms – whether a 1st yr undergrad or a Nobel Prize winning scientist” – Peter Brophy
Q8 How important, given current sector environmental factors, is creativity at all levels in the organisation?
  • Important but can be difficult when creativity is not encouraged elsewhere in organisation e.g. by councillors
  • Arguably creativity starts as what you need to find training and opportunities in the current climate
  • Creativity can be difficult to implement because of lack of resources
  • Need to find partners to help e.g. businesses
  • Technology means strategy needs to be inside out
Q9 What is the role of mobile devices in libraries?
  • Use of IPads for on the spot enquiries
  • Lots of options just need to dream them up, resource them and make them relevant to users.
  •  Stock recognition, guides, e-readers, self-issue, access to accounts and catalogues etc.
  •  We should ensure our digital resources are fully accessible on mobile devices
  • Augmented Reality could be used to give people more info about books they have near them, interconnections, locations etc.
  • Floorwalking – gadgets for all staff
  • Loaned mobile devices
  • Augmented Reality
  • Library apps e.g. City University http://bit.ly/oAzRSx
  • QR codes; graphic novels on mobile devices; junior library mobile site
  • Must remember not all have smartphone – public libraries must cater to all, not just techies or rich
  • Remember how things change – tech will become increasingly widespread
  •  The technology will become better and more will have them
Q10 What will the library of the future look like? Will there still be a physical library?
  • There will still be library buildings – huge symbolic and actual value still persists
  • May not be a library building – if so it will be a  a knowledge centre valued for lifelong learning and a social leisure space
  • Would be a shame if it wasn’t still a physical entity. People socialise in libraries, it’s a space for all
  • More use of zoned space in HE libraries
  • Students need study space still despite technology
  • The Hive, Worcester as an interesting example (combined university and public library) http://t.co/0JZHTHol
  • Future of Academic Libraries Project from SCONUL, RIN, British Library and JISC http://bit.ly/coRfmB
This week we trialled having a free chat where we discussed anything of  interest. This is some of the stuff that came up:
  • An attempt to dejargon management and organisation planning for anyone interested http://t.co/gtZxGo5p
  • It was mentioned that it might be better to use a chatroom for #uklibchat rather than Twitter – although convenience and serendipity of using Twitter was also mentioned
  • The problems of self-service were mentioned, particualrly pre-RFID systems. Issues mentioned included: misplaced books, confusing for patrons
  • Problems of self-service show that even if librarianship were just about stamping books, it’s not as easy as it looks!
  • Whilst some RFID machines can take fine money, some libraries still don’t even have a till
  • National marketing campaign. Take out bus adverts, cinema adverts. Could CILIP do this? (Though question of funding is difficult)
  • Interesting article about mobile technology that could be relevant for libraries  http://t.co/FEwWIJyV
  • Should be a union specifically for librarians as well as a professional body
  • Home grown ad http://t.co/ZYkKOxrE
  • Too much in-house advertising and marketing
  • Take a look at Welsh Gov ad targeting FE library students http://t.co/y7BUwXWr
  • Have libraries been in a topdown efficiency driven planning mode for so long they cannot now switch to an inside-out creativity and technology driven planning mode?
  • Amazon figures re Kindle sales outstripping hard copy sales refer to hard copy hardbacks – which few people want
  • Wondering how many people follow #uklibchat on their mobile…?
Please let us know what you thought of the Free Chat in the comments, or on Twitter by tweeting @uklibchat

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