Dusty books, reference departments filled with countless volumes dating back to the earliest days of published works, and rickety microfiche machines for which parts are no longer made. This is yesterday’s library – the one your parents and grandparents remember.
Fast forward to today’s library and you’ll see e-books, kiosks for self-checkout, lending libraries where patrons can check out everything from a hammer to a laptop or tablet. Today’s library has embraced technology and realized the end goal is not necessarily getting patrons into the library, it is getting them engaged with the library.
So, what’s tomorrow’s library looking at today? The answer can be summed up in one word: Voice.
With one-third of Americans using natural language for everything from controlling security and temperature in their homes to scheduling appointments and dictating emails, voice-based technology is not only the future, it is the present.
As people become more used to interacting with technology through conversation, progressive libraries are looking for ways to capitalize on this trend to drive more usage of resources and engagement with events and programs.
That’s where LIBRO comes in. Developed by Indianapolis-based ThickStat, Inc., LIBRO is a library platform that collects data available in a library’s catalog and event calendar and allows patrons to interact with the library through natural conversation.
Through Amazon’s Alexa, or on the LIBRO app, patrons and students can check the availability of materials, reserve and cancel materials, check things like the library’s hours or upcoming programming, and manage their accounts through voice.
For libraries, LIBRO can call, text or email patrons to remind them when materials are due or to let them know something is late and needs to be returned.
As the platform continues to learn from patrons’ use, features will continue to grow within the resource.
What does all this mean? More engagement, a new way for patrons and students to interact with their library, and new patron groups taking advantage of the wonderful resource a library is for its community or campus.
Check out LIBRO today at www.thickstat.com/libro, and if your library isn’t offering this unique platform, suggest they should.