As much as we hate to admit it, sometimes some of the greatest knowledge available isn’t found buried in library archives or deep within your microfiche collection. Instead, it’s found in the cloud, accessed through computers, mobile devices and even the terrifyingly awesome new world of virtual reality (major shoutout to NYT VR from the New York Times, using virtual reality technology to bring art and news to life in new ways—we’re obsessed).
Technology isn’t just the way of the future when it comes to finding information for your patrons—it’s the way of the present. But how do you introduce your most analog library-goers to the world of tech? Here are a few ways your library can promote the newest technology to patrons.
While the ability to craft the perfect high school valedictorian speech or finish off that final level of World of Warcraft (hey, we’re not judging) has long been a possibility in library computer labs, times are a changin’. With brand spanking new desktop computers cropping up in libraries across the country, it’s important to keep your patrons well-informed on the new capabilities your library computer lab has to offer.
Try holding open demos for patrons at your library and clearly outline the computer projects, programs and classes your library has to offer. Introduce them to online databases you may have on hand, and offer chances to learn computer programs you may have including FinalCut Pro, Photoshop and even Microsoft Office. Oftentimes, patrons are not aware of the possibilities inside the library’s computer lab (or may even think there’s a cost associated!). By dispelling these myths and making your services completely transparent, your patrons are much more likely to stay interested and keep coming back for more.
Gone are the days where the bulk of language skills were developed by listening to Ricky Martin’s Livin’ la Vida Loca on loop. Now patrons have a much heftier library of resources (literally!) at their hand when choosing a new language to master. There are often a lot of misconceptions surrounding learning a new language—including how difficult it is to get the necessary software. It’s up to you to assuage those fears and let language-hungry patrons know about the resources you offer.
Similar to telling someone you hit the lottery or that you scored a corner piece of cake at your nephew’s birthday party, sometimes the best news is told in person. Marketing language learning software can be as simple as sitting down with some of your regular patrons and explaining to them how to get involved with learning a language. Fortunately, Mango’s free marketing materials make this a lot easier. With an anthropomorphic mango or two on your team and information on available languages programs at your side, your patrons will be much better informed and ready to take on a new language.
Ah, the makerspace. Makerspaces are fairly new to the library space and give patrons the opportunity to exercise their creativity and collaborate with the community around them. Oftentimes, the biggest shortcoming with the makerspace is that patrons may not know exactly what the makerspaces have to offer and may require some additional marketing to get the word out. Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to help broaden public knowledge in your community on the makerspaces and what academic institutions and public citizens alike can stand to gain from using your library’s services.
While at one point the technologies available for 3D printing and robotics were only available in textbooks, your library can give these patrons the opportunity to truly jump into the pages and take on this knowledge first hand. Partner with schools and companies in your area and gage their interest on community classes and offerings. By getting more and more patrons to attend your makerspace, you will have not only the capability to spread the word organically, but also the ability to gain new regulars in the process.
New technology gives your patrons the opportunity to get excited about services they may not otherwise have access and will keep them engaged in your library for years to come. For more information on how to keep your library on top of the latest trends, check out our white paper: Why We (Will Always) Need Public Libraries.