Sunday, July 12, 2009

ALA Day 2

Libraries and Mobile Devices:Public Policy Considerations

Well, this session was certainly not what I expected. But it was really interesting. The growth in mobile device use has been incredible. Can you think of any other consumer product that has penetrated 60% of the world's population and in such a short time? The prediction is that it will be 90% by 201o. So how do libraries stay relevant? One panelist believes that there is no point in having something in the library if there are 10,000 copies available. I don't necessarily agree with that, but he also said that it's up to us and our patrons to make the unique content that we keep. We need proactive reference and we need to insert ourselves in real time into what's happening around us. This guy is really out there, but I wonder if what he is saying may prove true. Another panelist said that the future of information is streaming media, not downloadables. As connections continue to improve, information will become experience, not something tangible. Then there are the privacy issues. We must be deligent in making sure we maintain our patrons privacy, and make sure personal information belongs to a library, not a vendor.

So where will all of this leave us? Do we need to create experiences and content for our patrons? Probably. Will people still want us to buy books? I think so. And will there really be a time when there is no digital divide? I hope so, but I'm not holding my breath.

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