Chapter 2: The Modern Library

Technology plays a crucial role in the modern library. Today’s advanced technology can improve the experience your library offers patrons, so make sure you have the tech you need. By leveraging this technology, you can make more informed decisions.

How Can We Make the Library Better?

Constant improvements in technology allow for improvements in library spaces, especially in academic libraries that need to accommodate new technology for research and learning. New innovations can improve how library patrons discover content, making it more relevant and accessible. Along with education and research capabilities, the increased accessibility of digital resources will also affect librarians. Library staff may need to learn new skills and use new technology to help patrons use these tools.

Today, people use libraries for more than accessing information. Instead, community members and students are also looking for a space to be more productive. You should also have internet access available so students can get the materials they need.

The modern library is a place where technology creates better experiences for everyone who uses it. Tech has led to changes in library architecture, including implementing new technology to enable virtual meeting and active learning spaces. In some cases, library patrons’ changing needs may require a total overhaul of the space’s design.

Library Technology You Need

Your library can use technology to modernize your facility and improve patron experiences. The following are examples of technology you may want to include in your library:

  • People counters: In libraries, people counters can help determine how many patrons visit and when. Track foot traffic to different rooms and areas to ensure the space is optimized for patrons. If patrons use a specific area infrequently, for example, you can redesign that space to make it more appealing and useful for patrons.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) networks: Having access to the internet is more of a necessity today than a luxury, which means the Internet of Things (IoT) networks are also more critical than ever. IoT enables a connection between everyday devices and the ability to transfer data between devices over the internet. Libraries can use IoT in various applications, such as tracking program attendance and room usage. Libraries can use IoT to facilitate a better user experience for patrons.
  • eBooks: Due to technological, social and economic factors, the use of eBooks and eReaders is on the rise. Today, both community and academic libraries offer access to eBooks. Libraries offering eBooks need to track the use and success of these materials and how they compare to physical books. Though tracking which physical books have been checked out is simple, tracking the use of eBooks can be more challenging if people access them in the library but don’t check them out.
  • User-focused interfaces: Interfaces that provide a personalized interaction with the user can improve your patrons’ library experience. For example, you can use large screens to display information or project an interactive game for children on the floor. New tech allows you to offer a digital experience beyond the computer.
  • Makerspaces: Makerspaces are collaborative learning environments that enable patrons to explore interests, create projects and share materials. Patrons can use a makerspace to express their creativity or for educational purposes. Examples of makerspaces include parent-child crafts, painting workshops or games for young children. Makerspaces can attract more patrons to your library and solidify your facility as an educational space in the community.

Making Informed Decisions

Technology can help your library enhance your space and make better decisions regarding your layout and programming. Depending on your budget, you can implement technology to improve your facility with cost-effective options or a more significant investment. If you cannot afford to purchase dozens of tablets for your facility, for instance, you may be able to upgrade existing resources as a more affordable option. Examples of changes you may want to make to your layout and programming include:

  • Implementing displays in a designated area during a book reading or movie showing that bring awareness to similar books.
  • Creating art galleries for crafts patrons made at your library.
  • Placing tablets on shelf end caps that allow patrons to check out books, find materials and access the card catalog.
  • Developing exhibits, kiosks and cafes optimally placed for the greatest use and visibility.

Using people counters to measure attendance to your programs is one of the most helpful steps for data collection in a library. People counting solutions from Traf-Sys allow you to collect patron data, strategically use your library resources and effectively serve your patrons.