The Future of Library Software
Marshall Breeding Webinar, Part 1 of 4
Modern technology has grown at what seems like an exponential rate. Yet, within our local communities stands the library: a community fixture and definitive source of knowledge and information.
This juxtaposition does not mean libraries have remained static amid technological growth. Along with the rapid growth of technology, libraries have remained up-to-date while still offering patrons and surrounding communities a sense of home.
In a recent webinar, industry luminary Marshall Breeding offered his insights into how library software has impacted libraries past, present—and most importantly—how it will impact the future.
At the heart of any library’s success is its organizational structure, especially via software. But even though software trends move fast, they are not moving fast enough.
In this webinar, Marshall noted “It is important that we keep our software current, that we implement current versions of software, because the world is changing so rapidly. We need the best tools at our disposal to be able to deal with that change.”
The tools that support libraries need to expand with the times. And some libraries have embraced these tools with confidence. For example, with the help of new mobile technology, librarians can now go outside their branches to places like farmer’s markets or other community events and set up a “pop-up library” that allows community engagement while still granting access to the basic features and data of their desktop library software.
With that in mind, the future of library technology is bright. By stepping away from more local hardware and software, libraries are making the shift towards Cloud technology, which makes information accessible online via an off-site server.
But Cloud computing is not exactly new to the average library patron. Cloud technology abounds in our everyday lives with access to everything from web-based email to social media to backup services.
“In our personal life, we’re really used to Cloud technology and…that is the model that more and more of the business of library specific software will be delivered in as well,” Breeding declared.
It only makes sense that libraries would also adopt these practices for their data and processes.
For many years now, a trend in library software has been an emphasis on discovery tools.
“We need to have absolutely the best tools at our disposal for providing access to these complex collections,” says Breeding.
The vastness of a library’s collections is only as valuable as the patrons’ abilities to find them. It is of the utmost importance that the library’s materials be as easy to find as possible.
Google and Amazon have honed customers’ expectations. Gone are the days of needing an exact title to find a library item. With these complex softwares, users can search with simply an idea, a topic, a keyword, a Boolean phrase, etc. From that search, they can then sample a vast array of titles, articles, and multimedia.
What to do about it
Breeding said that, “we live with increasing complexity, where everything that we do is additive.” And library software has certainly come a long way.
As libraries embrace new technologies, librarians do well to stay aware of the current trends. Many use social media, industry journals and blogs, professional and academic articles, and even conferences.
Libraries today are much more than collections of books. And librarians are much more than overseers of those materials. With the evolving technology available to libraries and their patrons, libraries are changing the way people learn.
Ultimately, this technology is giving librarians and patrons alike greater access to valuable information.
Are you interested in hearing more from Marshall Breeding in this webinar? To watch the full webinar, click here.
To read the following webinar report, click here.