Technology is evolving and it’s taking libraries with it. Driven by demand and expectations from library’s users and its wider-community Dewey Library is looking for means to enhance their service. Implementing an interactive smartphone app called "LibrARi" will be one of the ways the Dewey Library can step into the future.
When considering implications for rolling out new technology, one must align the investment with the library’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and assess if the $200,000 budget will have a good return on investment.
The introduction of a new technology into the Dewey Library will always have its implications. As stated in the introduction of this report, the reason to invest in this new technology is to help member retention and reengagement.In 2019, the library service saw just over 23,000 visitors over its two locations. Naturally, with the COVID-19 restrictions this number will be lower. However, it is anticipated that with this new investment that these engagement figures will be boosted by 10% or more over the next 12 months. It will help the library to bounce back from the crisis as well.
The initial installation process will initially take some time of all librarians, as they will all need to be trained on the use of the new application. Signage will need to be created and set up in order to roll-out the new technology. Additionally, an amount of specific marketing will need to be implemented to promote the new tool.
Ensuring a smooth transition to the adoption of "LibrARi" is crucial when the Dewey Library begins to rollout this new technology.
The app requires physical signage around the library. It is important that these signs are clearly displayed, easy to read and understand, able to be accessed by all users including those in wheelchairs. Additionally, the safety of users must be considered, so the signs should not be placed where users will block traffic through a thoroughfare.
As seen in the example images below each sign has a unique pattern for the application to identify, allowing navigation through the library.
Training and documentation will also be important for the implementation of the app within the library. Augmented reality is a relatively new technology, and it is important that all librarians understand how to use the application. Additionally, documentation both for staff and for users must be written up and distributed. For example, a sign should be placed at the front of the library letting users know about the navigation app. A flyer and online instructions should also be created to show users how to use the app. Moreover, all librarians will need to be trained on how to use the app so that they can assist new users.
Another implication for the library will be its influence on the marketing side of the library. The technology must be explained clearly and promoted to users and potential users. A great way to let users know about the app is to integrate it with the library’s free Wi-Fi. Most modern libraries, like the Dewey Public Library, offer their users free Wi-Fi. In most cases, there is a “sign on” page where users must provide a small amount of details (such as their name and email address or mobile phone number) and be given a link to the terms and conditions. This sign on page is the perfect place to let users know about the library’s new book finding app. In the same vein, a dedicated page on the library’s website will be required, where information about the app can be accessed.
The book finding app is about making current and new members’ experience even better. Social media posts are highly recommended to get the message out to members. If the library has a newsletter, the new system should be featured.
New technologies can always have their risks. This app will be an excellent tool for users of the library, however, the system will likely need an IT expert to help with support.