Technology is a fickle friend

Posted on May 4, 2011. Filed under: Library Woes | Tags: , , |

Just because we are ready for technology does not mean that our patrons are. Take a look at the average crop of – let’s say new librarians to those with 10 years of practice. Obviously, we’re more educated than the average American. Many of us follow current trends, trying to keep up with what’s in, what’s popular, so that we can match our services to our users’ needs. Tutor.com has an app for iPhone so you can get homework help on the go. And let’s consider eReaders. I didn’t get a Kindle because a) they cost too much, and b) you have to buy the books. Why do I want to buy a book that I’ll only read once? That’s what the library is for. So then we started downloadable ebooks in libraries, and let me tell you that for us, it exploded last Christmas when everyone started bringing in their Nooks and Sony Readers and iPads for help.

Still, new technology isn’t for everyone. Where one person goes to our Web site through a QR code, others are still figuring out how to type a Web address into their browser. We have a wide range of people to serve, from the early adopters to the still-using-VCRs. It’s our responsibility to avoid leaving anyone out, or at least get the stragglers on board.

I started this thought because of something that happened this weekend. We’ve transferred all of our media to RFID, and we’ve just installed the media unlocker (for lack of a better term) at one of our self-checks.  In less than 24 hours of having this brand-new, more efficient, user-friendly technology, someone got a CD stuck, rendering that great new technology useless for two days while we figured out how to get the CD unstuck.

Ain’t technology grand?

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