“The Future of Digital” by BI Intelligence

Finding out what is happening in libraries nationwide is vital to health of your own library. It keeps your library up with what is trending, creates an needed idea exchange, and establishes powerful partnerships. It would be silly to go at it alone in this dog-eat-dog world where we must fight for every dime and report our value constantly. However, in the midst of keeping abreast of what is happening elsewhere in the library world, we often fail to look at what is happening from a “big picture” level. To use a well over-used analogy, if we’re always looking at the trees (libraries) we really do miss the forest (life that happens outside libraries).

One of the best ways to keeps up with trends outside the library- that impact the library – is through RSS feeds. Yes, I know… not exactly a new or revolutionary concept but you’d be surprised with how many people still don’t use them OR they use them just for Library resources and articles. If we’re just duplicating each other’s work, then how will we ever make innovative progress? I realize that I am sounding very soap-boxy at the moment – I promise I’m going somewhere with this.

Business Insider Intelligence posted a fantastic slide-deck about the “Future of Digital” last week highlighting the past major movements in the digital world and some interesting theories about where we are headed. Why does the Library care? Because we need to be where the users are going and want to go.

Awesome Insight >>> http://www.businessinsider.com/future-of-digital-slides-2012-11?op=1

This slide-deck has a money focus (it came from Business Insider for goodness sake!) but their findings provide libraries insight into where our digital world is headed.

A few thoughts:

  • Mobile use is rising – Not a new fact anymore as far as smartphones are concerned but tablets are considered the fastest growing device. Some libraries are letting patrons check out these devices while others are making sure all their online resources are mobilized. Have you checked the user experience of your website and online resources on a mobile device? Because if they are bad, your patrons will not be back. That’s harsh, but it’s a fact.
  • Watching streaming video is increasing at a rapid rate – users CRAVE this type of mobile media – perhaps Films on Demand wouldn’t be such an unreasonable purchase for your library? What about streaming live events at your library?
  • Google is #1 in advertising on the web – Did you know that non-profits get free advertising with Google? I will discuss this more in-depth in a later post because it’s too sweet of a deal for libraries not to do a whole post on.
  • Buying content, lots of it – Users are already paying for content available in your library for free. It’s a convenience thing. Making a bigger deal about Overdrive and online subscriptions is a no-brainer.
  • Texting overhaul – Majority of patrons are texting nowadays – do you offer an SMS chat service?


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