This afternoon, I attended Florida Library Webinar‘s “Tech Trends to Watch in 2014″. The information presented in the webinar was highly interesting and eye-opening to the technology available to libraries for implementation in the near future. I wanted to highlight a few of the trends from the presentation that I hope to implement at my own local public library or at least discuss with other professionals.
One of the many trends in which libraries can choose to participate is mobile payment applications and tools. Mobile payment applications enable libraries or other businesses to exchange money using mobile applications. For example, if a library had a Square card reader and a smart phone, iPad, or iPod touch, library patrons could pay for fines with their credit card at the library. This would be especially helpful for libraries that do not have any other form of card reader. At our local public library, we only accept cash and checks. This could be a way to open the payment options for more patrons. However, I understand there may be risks in using this type of technology. I would be even more supportive of getting this technology for our library with more information about the privacy and safety features that would prevent Data Theft.
Feeling all alone at the library should be a thing of the past! A second trend is collaboration tools in which libraries can utilize to communicate with both staff, library professionals, and the community. Because of the newer chat tools, libraries can collaborate with a number of people for any number of reasons. The presentation listed Screen Leap, Google+ Hangouts, FaceTime, Skype, and Facebook Messenger as top tools to use for collaboration among others. I would love to use one or more of these tools to help patrons find the information and resources needed, no matter where they are in the world. I would also love to use these tools when developing professional development for our staff. This is something that I am looking to use in the future, but I am not sure if we would be able to implement this very soon.
Another trend that was mentioned during the presentation and that I believe would be easily enacted at libraries is gamification, or “game-design thinking”. Gamification is a way to motivate and engage people in learning and library participation. Library patrons are encouraged to participate in events and learn new things when libraries award badges and prizes. The presentation listed many different games and tools that are examples of gamification; a few of these include: Library Game, Lemon Tree, Game of Books, Captain Up, Passport (from Purdue University), and Code-academy. I really love the idea of encouraging the community to learn and attend events, and this seems like a simple way to engage the community. One of my goals is to implement game-design thinking at our public library this year.
I really enjoyed the presentation and its tips on staying informed in the technology sector.