App Advisory at the Library

my first screen of appsLibraries have recommended stuff to customers for years. Reader’s advisory. Video suggestions. New music to listen to. Ways to start a research project.

Why not app advisory?

Think about it. What do over half of your customers have? Smartphones. And easy access to the app store. What they don’t have is a trusted app “curator” – someone who can recommend the best apps.

What would that look like? I’ll start us off:

  • Best new apps of the month
  • Popular apps
  • Apps connected to a season (i.e., it’s summer, so apps with grilling suggestions. Yes, they exist).
  • Suggestions on how to use an app
  • And of course, you’d mention library-related apps. Ebook apps. Your ILS app, if you have one. etc.

This also means that we would need to have easy access to apps, and have a small app budget. And a variety of smartphones and tablets – both iOS and Android – to play with.

App recommendation for your community. Could be cool. What do you think?

Tips for Making Square Videos

If you’re making video for social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, or Vine, you might think about using a square format, rather than the usual 16:9 aspect ratio.

Why? Because square format videos work great on a mobile device – which is probably what your viewers will be using. And both Instagram and Vine use the square format for videos.

Here are some tips to make your square videos awesome:

  • Fill the frame. Get up close to your subject. If your viewer is watching on a smartphone, that square video will be pretty tiny! Make sure your viewer can see your video.
  • Center the content. Don’t worry so much about that Rule of Thirds here. Go ahead and put your subject in the middle of the frame.
  • Leave space on the edges. If you hold your smartphone vertically while creating your video, leave space at the top or bottom, so you can center in on the action that will show up in a square format. Same thing if you hold the phone horizontally – leave space at the edges, so your subject fills the frame but doesn’t get edited out in a square format.
  • Get to the Point. Really important for Instagram or Vine videos – you only have 15 or 6 seconds, so you will need to start right in on the action and your point!

More Square Format Video Tips here:

Instagram video from my library’s Instagram Account

Mobile-only Use Overtakes Desktop-only Use

I’m still at Computers in Libraries 2015 – great conference as usual!

I also just saw this from Gary Price on InfoDocket, and thought it was worth sharing.

In the US, the number of mobile-only internet users now exceeds the number of desktop-only internet users.

Here’s what ComScore says about this: “While the share of mobile-only users has climbed over the past year to 11.3 percent, the desktop-only population has drastically declined to just 10.6 percent. Of course these numbers also tell us that the vast majority of the digital population (78 percent) is multi-platform and goes online using both desktop and mobile platforms.”

What’s this mean? More of our us are carrying the internet around in our pockets, bags, and hands. We’re in front of small screens more often than we are in front of a desktop computer, which makes sense.

It also means that we need to make absolutely certain that our library and organization websites work on mobile devices. Having a great mobile-friendly website is more important than having it work fine on a desktop computer. Why? Because our customers are in front of the small screen more often, and have access to a small screen more often, than desktop or laptop computers.

For many things, it’s simply more convenient to pick up a smartphone to quickly check something. Not always the most optimal – but it is generally more convenient.

So – how’s your website’s mobile experience? Not too hot? If not, then … it’s time to start working on it!

Photo of my iPhone taken by me

More Info about iBeacon Technology

beaconsMy last couple of articles have looked into iBeacon technology. Interested in finding out more? This article has a bunch of links for more reading on iBeacons, and what’s happening with them. Enjoy!

My articles on iBeacons:

Library-related iBeacon articles:

Even More iBeacon Articles:

I’ll possibly re-visit this topic as I play with these things, so stay tuned!

iBeacons and the Library

an iBeaconI’ve shown what iBeacons are, and what they do in non-retail settings. Can they be used in a library setting? Definitely – because some libraries are already experimenting with them!

There are currently two companies in the library industry working with iBeacons (that I know of, anyway):

What are these companies focusing on?

Bluubeam sends out location-based messaging. For example, if you walk into the teens area of the library (and have the Bluubeam app on your mobile device), you might get a message about what’s happening in the teen section that day, or get a message about an upcoming teen event.

So think location-based promotion of events and your stuff.

Capira Technologies does location-based messaging. They’re also working on more personalized info. For example, here’s what they say about circulation notices:

Patrons who have authenticated their account information in your library app can receive notifications about items due that day, items ready for pickup, and much more when they enter the building. Library staff know that patrons often visit the library and forget they have items due that day. Automatically reminding them to stop by the circulation desk and renew them before they leave is a great customer service.

What types of things could you do with iBeacons in a library? Here are some ideas:

  • Event notices that are location-based
  • Promotion of new library services. For example, if a customer walks by your new makerspace, they could receive a message explaining it, and maybe an “ask the librarian” prompt for more information.
  • Building tours!
  • Around-town tours. I’d love to see iBeacons connected to a historical walking tour, for example. This has the potential to be much better than portable headsets, and definitely better than QR codes.
  • Art gallery explanations. We have an art gallery. It might work to have explanations of art pieces or more information about the current exhibit.
  • Shelving notices. What’s on this shelf? Capira goes much further with this idea – “For example, if a library offered a row of shelves with New Releases, a patron could view items released that day using their device and a beacon located on the shelf.”
  • Patron Assistance (again from Capira). Devices can time how long a beacon stays in range. Staff can be notified if a patron spends an excessive amount of time in a specific area or room without moving, possibly indicating they may require assistance looking for items.
  • Beacon Tracking – Anonymous tracking via iBeacons can capture how library customers move around in your building, along with how much time is spent in each area. Retail stores already do this, and then move their products around to where customers gather. Something to think about!

Again – there is potentially a LOT of possibility here. What do you think? Please share!

iBeacon image by Jonathan Nalder