The public library is an evolving space.
Far from going extinct, they have retained their cherished spot in communities as hubs of local activity. Entering a library today, you’ll find a new companion to the shelves of books: digital screens. These displays are used for everything from cataloguing information to advertising upcoming author visits.
Digital signage for libraries is helping to reinvent traditional centres. Emerging is a generation of staff and volunteers that are embracing technology, whether it’s engaging the local community on social media or deploying more sophisticated loan systems.
A librarian’s best friend
While supposedly quiet, libraries can become busy spaces, especially public libraries in large cities or those on university campuses. The help desks at reception can easily generate queues of people with queries. To compound the problem, often libraries are under-staffed due to budget restraints.
This makes digital displays a librarian’s best friend. Utilising screens at a help desk can help cut queues by answering frequently asked questions, improving the overall experience of patrons. Interactive screens in particular allow users to search for their own specific enquiry and receive tailored advice. This frees up librarians to assist with more significant issues and ultimately makes their job easier.
Welcoming the community
Reception screens are ideally placed for welcome messages – the perfect time to tell visitors about the latest books or upcoming events. Libraries are almost unique in that they bring disparate groups of the local community together. They host book clubs for pensioners; writing workshops for creatives; reading lessons for young children. If you just came in to borrow a book, you might have no idea that all this and much more was going on.
Digital signage for libraries is an engaging way to promote library activities. Unlike posters which are static and need replacing, digital screens can schedule content and target media to different audiences at different times of the day, week, month or year.
Navigating the shelves
While the idea of getting lost in a library is a romantic notion, if you are looking for a particular book, hunting around can only cause frustration. Library digital signage effectively resolves this problem.
Screens can indicate the different areas of the library, whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, periodicals, archives etc. They can offer a visual representation of the shelves or provide cataloguing information to speed up the process of finding what you are after. Sophisticated wayfinding systems utilise touchscreens to allow patrons to search for the section (or even book) they seek and receive a mapped route.
Social media and video
While library-goers tend to love nothing more than having their heads in a good book, the chances are a lot of them will spend time on social media too. To capitalise on this, libraries do well to have social media profiles: a page on Facebook or an account on Twitter.
Digital signage for libraries compliments this trend as screens can display Twitter feeds and be used to deploy instant messaging. Digital library displays are ideal for video too. Libraries might be quiet spaces but that is not to say they cannot show subtitled videos, with content ranging from educational tools to local events.
Digital signage for libraries is the next chapter for institutions that have been around for centuries, evolving to meet a timeless demand. To read another one of our library blog posts click here.