Many long-time library patrons today fondly remember going to their local public libraries as kids and young adults. The library provided a quiet place to study or read, a convenient spot to work collaboratively on school projects, and perhaps most importantly – unique access to a world of information. But with the surging popularity of the internet in recent years, information has become easily accessible from anywhere. Even the palm of one’s hand.
Sophisticated new mobile devices offer today’s patron instant access to what they’re looking for. It seems like every other day there is a bigger and better smartphone or tablet clamoring for the eye of the consumer. Needless to say, libraries have far more competition to contend with. However, the best days for public libraries need not be in the past. Public libraries have much to offer – they just have to meet their more technologically savvy patrons halfway to best communicate their value.
One of the first steps to reaching and engaging patrons is understanding this new reality and the needs that come with it. Commercial competition can often be more in touch with younger audiences since it is, by nature, a business. But it’s important for libraries to better understand their patrons’ needs as well in order to remain relevant in this changing society.
21st Century Library Blog identifies three categories of library patrons: Digital Fugitives, Digital Immigrants, and Digital Natives. Digital Fugitives are the more traditional target audience of public libraries – folks who are largely unfamiliar with technology. Digital Immigrants are those who did not grow up with technology but have grown to integrate it into their everyday lives. Finally, Digital Natives are, of course, those who have grown up with digital technology and now have become dependent upon it.
Librarians are experts at what they do – but some may find it difficult to keep pace with the rapidly changing interests and needs of the Digital Immigrant and Digital Native members of the community. How can libraries and those who work with them reconcile their need to fend off competition and engage their tech-reliant community members with their own potential lack of technical familiarity?
…by providing access to their library’s services to their communities via a library-branded mobile app! A custom app for your library will enable you to reach ALL of your audiences in a seamless and streamlined fashion. With a native app able to be instantly downloaded to any of your patrons’ mobile devices, you send a clear message to your community that you are committed to the future and you “speak their language”. Your colors, logos, and icons are all brought into the app to promote your library’s specific identity to your community.
Even better, Boopsie handles all of the operating system updates and provides full wrap-around IT support. Essentially, you can bridge that gap between you and your younger patrons, bring your library back into the forefront of your mind, and keep technical concerns off your mind completely. This allows you to cater to these Digital Immigrant and Digital Native audiences now and in the future without necessarily needing to burden yourself with all of the details.
Not only can a mobile app reach more audiences and increase excitement around your library, but it will also mitigate confusion around how to use your resources and functionality, freeing up valuable time for your staff. Those often expensive subscriptions and databases now can be utilized to their full potential so no dollars go to waste.
And when a new device comes out that your patrons are using, you can rest assured that Boopsie will ensure that your library is set up and ready to go. For example, studies are finding that laptops and e-readers are increasingly being replaced by tablets. Tablets are often more convenient than heavy and cumbersome laptops and can execute a wider variety of tasks than a standard e-reader. You can be certain that your library will be easily available at the tap of an icon on these increasingly popular devices and that your library will be prepared for any future technological advancements.
Over 4,000 Boopsie libraries worldwide love their custom Boopsie app! Contact Boopsie for more information about how your library can stay on top of the latest technology and better engage your tech-savvy community. Register for one of our public library webinars here.