How Technology is Improving Library Experiences Across the US
Libraries across the United States have been embracing technology as a means of improving the overall library experience for patrons. According to a report by the Pew Research Center, as of 2021, 76% of American adults believe that libraries should offer access to technology tools and services. With the increasing demand for digital resources and the need for more personalized services, libraries are turning to technology to transform their spaces into modern, engaging hubs for learning, creativity, and community engagement.
From security to self-service machines, D-Tech International has compiled a list of the three most experience-enhancing technologies within modern libraries:
1. Library Security Systems
Security technology such as D-Tech’s secureIT range helps cater for all budgets and saves money by ensuring valuable equipment and assets stay inside your library. Considering there is a national average loss of 6.28 million items per year across US libraries, security gates and systems have helped tackle this problem. There are solutions available including RFID, EM and hybrid models.
2. Smartphone Integrations
Library apps benefit patrons and providers by providing access to a range of services even when off-site such as renewing and borrowing books, as well as allowing providers to communicate with patrons via their smartphones. App use is growing at 119% per year, so using services like appIT ensures you’re evolving alongside cutting-edge technology. appIT is D-Tech’s library app which provides patrons access to a range of library services, including the ability to borrow and renew books using only their smart device. Some key features of the app include compatibility with NFC-enabled Android and Apple devices, RFID tag reading & RFID security deactivation via NFC and barcode scanning via the user’s smart device camera.
3. Self-service Library Technology
Self-service pickup lockers are becoming commonplace and improving library flexibility by extending lending hours. Self-service kiosks like holdIT are installed in libraries across the US, with a vast portfolio of holdIT kiosks on the east coast alone, helping libraries maximise their resources.
The benefits of introducing technology in libraries extend beyond user experiences and are an important step in ensuring your library continues to meet the evolving needs of your patrons.
- Accessing information: online databases, e-books and other digital resources mean that patrons and library teams can access information from anywhere at any time.
- Improving efficiency: library operations efficiency is improved through technologies, automated systems and online catalogues which make it easier for librarians to manage administrative tasks.
- Greater reach: libraries can reach patrons beyond their physical locations and connect more easily.
- Increased accessibility: technology has also improved accessibility for patrons with disabilities. E-books, audiobooks, and other digital resources can be easily accessed by patrons with visual impairments or other disabilities.
- Cost savings: technology has helped libraries save costs on materials, staffing, and wider operations.
Introducing a wide range of technologies to your library is an investment in not only equipment but time, resources, the experience and the quality and level of service provided
Many of D-Tech’s US customers have been introducing new technologies to their services and finding instant improvements. The COO and CTO of Tulsa City-County library said: “From a solutions standpoint, the computeIT is a perfect fit within our customer-centric self-service model. It provides our customers with the freedom and independence to decide how they want to use the library with or without staff intervention and aligns with our goal of providing 21st-century library products and services”.
D-Tech also matches the library’s goals of meeting new expectations due to evolving times, the head of systems and technical services at Emporia State University Libraries and Archives said, “In the Systems & Technical Services Department, we are challenged to find new ways to support the “connecting and engaging adaptive learners” vision of the library. We must continue to innovate. In the long term, it will become a more mainstream requirement to offer more online resources to meet the changing dynamics of our students, faculty, and staff”.
Case Study – Epic Technology in Action
In Grand Prairie Texas, The Epic fitness, arts and entertainment centre wanted to provide library services to their members but required a solution that would provide advanced world-class services equal to the visionary aspects of the other services of the facility.
The Epic wanted a visual presence for the system that would entice members to use the library services. The system needed to serve as an automated library branch and the center required a solution that would function during its hours of operation. The system needed to be a fully functional, easy-to-use, stand-alone system that wouldn’t require staff assistance.
D-Tech provided a solution in the form of lendIT lockers. The units feature an item capacity of 1,000 items; check-out/returns; search options by category, author, title, blue ray, DVD, etc; and account access with a patron card and payments for usage and/or fines and fees.
The results of this collaboration have provided a high-tech, world-class, self-service library solution that fits seamlessly within The Epic center’s other service offerings and there have been many members already applying for library cards and strong circulation of materials since the opening of the center. You can read the full case study here.
Whether it’s contact-reducing capabilities, security enhancements, or optimisation of storage conditions, technology is advancing library services and experiences to everybody’s advantage. If you’d like more information on taking the next step toward implementing engaging, affordable solutions to power your organization, contact us for a free consultation today.
As innovators of library technology for over 20 years, D-Tech International is always operating at the cutting-edge to develop the next generation of enhancements – speak to one of our experienced and friendly team to find out how new technologies could transform your patron experience.