Libraries in the Digital Age

In a time of rapid change for print media, libraries are finding a variety of ways to continue to connect with their patrons.  Though much has been written on the move away from print resources toward digital media, library visits and circulation have actually climbed nearly 20 percent from 1999 to 2008.  Tough economic times have brought users to the library for free computer access and to take advantage of free movie and music rentals. And now libraries are finding even more ways to meet customer expectations by increasing Wi-Fi availability, lending Kindles to patrons, and offering music-downloading for personal digital devices.  Education Week  recently wrote about a number of libraries which have begun developing iPod applications for an iPod-friendly generation.  Some libraries are now even managing Twitter accounts to inform patrons of library services:

Now, the digital sphere is expanding: 82 percent of the nation’s more than 16,000 public libraries have Wi-Fi—up from 37 percent four years ago, according to the American Library Association.

…A growing number of libraries are launching mobile websites and smart-phone applications, says Jason Griffey, author of “Mobile Technology and Libraries.” No one keeps tabs of exactly how many, but a recent iPhone app search showed more than a dozen public libraries.

Here at MetaMetrics, we know the importance of accessing content through multiple mediums.  Our own Engaging English offers a personal and interactive learning platform for users wanting to strengthen their English speaking skills.  Users read targeted, online content across a wide spectrum of interest areas as a way to improve their English  and prepare for the reading demands likely to be found throughout their professional lives.   Because Engaging English is entirely online and self-guided, users have maximum convenience and flexibility in establishing responsibility for their own reading growth.   Best of all, Engaging English is accessible on mobile devices, offering the users the ability to access content in a way that is most convenient and applicable to them.

The ability to access content across a variety of mediums – online, e-readers, smart phones, notebooks, etc… – has become vital to many student users.  Many have an expectation that content should be readily available through whatever format they choose to access it.  That’s why it’s good to see so many libraries taking steps to remain relevant and indispensable in a digital age.

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