Computers in Libraries 2016 – Day Three

Today was the final day of the Computers in Libraries 2016 conference.  It started off with a great keynote from Lee Rainie from the PEW Internet Project.  He gave a great discussion on some of the survey results they found from 2015.  It showed that people see libraries as part of their education ecosystem in their communities.  In fact, 85% of Americans surveyed think libraries should coordinate more closely with local schools in providing educational resources to kids.  It was very interesting to see how the public viewed libraries and what they wanted from them.

The next session I went to was on Beacons for Libraries.  I had not heard of Beacons before this, so this talk was very interesting.  Basically they are small Bluetooth based devices that can broadcast notifications to smartphones when they come into range.  This was very interesting in how it can be used in libraries, such as being able to send notifications to smartphones if a patron walks into a certain area of the library, or about a special collection or event.  It did require that the library have a mobile app capable of accepting the Bluetooth notifications.  In this case, the library had worked with a company called Capira Technologies to set this up, and to connect the Beacons to a web server to send data.  There were also legal considerations as well, which is why the library chose to make it an opt-in feature within their mobile app.  That way patrons had to agree to get their information instead of it being sent to them without their consent.

The next session I went to was on social media, specifically talking about Tumblr, Snapchat, and Instagram.  This was an interesting talk as they outlined which social media platforms they have used, and even retired.  They talked about trying different platforms, and if they did not work for the library after a while, to retire them.  They discussed some of the benefits of Tumblr, Snapchat, and Instagram and how they stack up to Facebook and Twitter.  They found most of their success was with Snapchat, especially being able to interact with teenage patrons.

The following session was also in this social media track, and was called Who Are You Online.  They discussed having different types of social media accounts, such as Parody accounts, personal accounts, and professional accounts.  They also spent a lot of time discussing Twitter and how it is effective for libraries.  A lot of people use Twitter as a news feed, getting information faster than with other social media services.  And that Twitter has hit a tipping point, and is currently one of the more effective social media tools out there.  But that depending on the community, Twitter may not be for everyone.

So that wraps up this conference, it was great to be able to come and see all the sessions.  I have a lot of things I want to bring back to try with both our users and at SELCO.