Monday 17 November 2008

Future reading ...

This evening I had the pleasure of dining with a whole lot of people responsible for the provision of libraries in both England and Scotland.  The question of how people will want to "read" or consume such media in future was obviously raised.  Note about 'want' rather than 'be able' to!  Yes sure we all know about e-paper technologies and also that books can be delivered just as a bitstream like all other media ... eventually directly to the brain.   But this fails to capture the experience for people.  And that is important.  

Libraries are already changing from silent buildings with only racks of books stacked up.  But not every library user is yet ready for the audible experience that might result from some of the other activities that a library could offer, especially to attract younger 'readers'.  And new ways of checking items in and out are already providing self-service and utilising such technology as RFID tags.  The challenge in future is probably to find the right combinations of technology which enable people to have the optimum experience in the library and want to return there for the social experience as much as the media content.

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