We all know how much tablets, smart phones and similar devices have penetrated our society. A look around you when you travel, when you’re in a cafe or even in your library, will show many different people working on many different devices.
How easy do we make it for our users to use library services on these devices?
I have to admit I am torn with library service online. We have nearly ten apps related to services that we offer online, from language learning to event booking, from our catalogue to downloading and reading e-books, there is an app to cover each of these items.
But that is where I am torn. It is an app for each of those items.
The library website covers some of it, to the point where you can at least start the process of borrowing an e-book or booking an event before being taken off-site. But more often than not we have to point to services off-site.
Will there come a day where the library website will be the whole one-stop shop? We are working towards it. Our ILMS vendor is working with e-book providers to give us plug and play type access to our e-books through the catalogue, where discovery, borrowing and downloading all happen through the one site.
Although this is our ideal, it is not going to be possible with everything we offer, definitely not in the short term and maybe not even in the long. And whether an app could even cover it all is also in some doubt.
And that’s not even getting to the point of preference…. would our users prefer an app or a website or a combination of both? For mobile devices there is limited choice – in most cases its one or the other, irrespective of the user’s preference.
So we manage with what we have and make the most of those things that are available and wring our hands at knowing that there is so much more that our library users are missing, if only they visited that part of the website, or read that flyer, or saw that poster. If only……