These librarians (panel) are from from all over Massachusetts. The room was packed.
Cheryl Bryan started speaking. She started with how they are welcoming customers in the library. Bridgewater Library has student art shows, and things are cycling on the screen. Some libraries are doing circulation in pods, but sometimes this gets confusing, so they installed lights as a boundary. They used lights as a perimeter.
Other things include two-reference computers. The librarian looks up something and the patron is on another computer. This way, the patron is being shown what to see and to learn how to do something.
RFID tech is impacting design. A Magic Pad is something where you can have a stack of books, and they are all checkled out. When they are checked back in, they go right into the return bin. The Milton Installation is where the book goes right onto a conveyor belt. Books are checked in and sorted and the bins go right onto trucks and go where they need.
Self Check Out desks. These usually increase circulation, especially when they are installed in both the adult areas and children’s areas.
Self Pick Up Reserves: The Dartmouth Library opens the lobby early so people can pick up items early and use self check. This in convenient for people heading to work in the morning.
New Formats: Of course we have downloadable materials and ebooks. The population shift is moving toward this. There are stations just for this.
Mobile Reference: People in larger, 4-story buildings will roam and reference can be done mobilly. Librarians will even meet patrons at the elevator. California is experimenting with books on the subway line.
Interactive Displays: On-the-spot programming. Patrons walk in and something is always going on. Mobile exhibits can display art. Green screens in children’s areas can allow kids to see themselves in different environments (on the moon, in a field, etc). Cerritos Library has this, and some libraries even have “walk in” fish tanks.
New Programming Options: Trends in YA to create gaming areas. Orange County has a great gaming area. Seeing areas where kids can help each other learn.
Training Space for Public and Staff: The Quincy Library has a separate training lab. This is valued by the community and some libraries are working with older adults to get them started on tech.
Community Study Rooms: People want a quiet place, and instead of expecting the library to be quiet, we need to have quiet rooms. All we need is a desk and chairs, but a magic board can add to it. OneTouch Studio has the video, audio, and is great for training for teachers. It’s also great for people to learn presentations.
Furnishings to support Wi-fi: People shouldn’t be sitting on the floor near an outlet. We need to think about laptop and tablet users. Chairs should have pop-ups for this. Have a lot of outlets and make them available.
Charging Stations: Stations are being offered, as well as individual chargers for mobile devices. On the cape, they lose power easily, but the libraries manage to get power back pretty quickly.
Outdoor Seating for Wifi Users: Have a deck with seating, because it makes wifi 24/7, whether your library is open or closed. Portsmith Public Library has a C shape around a courtyard that accomodates outdoor users.
Personal Devices: It’s not as expensive to buy a small tablet and to carry it. People would rather do this. It’s more important to have open space for people to use these devices than to have public computers.
Lending Devices: This also is a trend in getting away from more and more public computers.
Moving from Research to Creation: There are film festivals for teens. Raspberry Pi’s are being used. Maker spaces have been made from the ends of hallways. Glassed-in rooms are called the “Idea Box” that changes every month. This can lead to interactive programming. It’s not that hard to create this. Space for people to meet as a group is more important (knitting).
Things keep changing and we have to keep listening to our public to find out what they expect.
The panel then started adding thoughts. Beth Kramer said we have to have our communities involved and showing us what they want to do. We have to try and project years into future and be flexible. The childrens area in her library (on Martha’s Vineyard) does not have a lot of technology, which parents appreciate.
More thoughts from Leslie Morrissey at Falmouth:
Anytime we have buildings that overlook water, we want to think about increasing wifi capabilities, so people can take advantage of these views.
How do we keep up with all the changes? How do we fund our service contracts? RFID is great, but the contract is very costly. This is where trustees can come in handy and help fund some programs. Some libraries are leasing computers and then send them back after three years. This can give more stability for a budget when parts break.
Job descriptions have to be much broader and not as narrow, whether union or not.
How do we keep the user experience positive when your devices don’t always work or your computers are down?
Beth Kramer talked about her new library in West Tisbury. Her library was a browsing library but then the patrons had to learn an automated system. That has been a challenge for her community. She said many of her staff do not have mobile devices. Paying people to practice and train is needed. We also need to build staff confidence and allow them to make mistakes. Patrons understand if we are learning as they are learning. We have to look at these things as opportunities to learn.
Deb Barry at the Eastham Public Library started to speak. She is in the process of opening a new library and wanted to talk about their goals. She said libraries need to have rock solid IT. They will have extra money to purchase things they need as the patrons ask for it.
Their meeting rooms will have Smart and woofo (solar bench). How are they doing this? Budgeting for racks, swtiches, conduits. They will have security cameras. They will try to design for mobility and comfort for those with mobility issues.
This session had some good quesitons and offered some great ideas and what libraries in the future need to think about.
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