Teaching Customers to Copy your DVDs and other Nefarious Ideas

I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile now, and was recently reminded of it through a post on the ALA Think Tank Facebook Group (have you joined yet? Good stuff there).

The discussion at ALA Think Tank was about using copy machines to do illegal things, and someone mentioned the sign many libraries place around the copy machine, reminding customers to please not break the law when using the copy machine.

And that reminded me about this post, which is really just a question: Why don’t we teach our customers how to rip our DVDs, download our music CDs to iTunes, or copy our audiobooks to their favorite digital listening devices?

Hang with me a sec here. Parents, think about how your kids listen to music. They might not own a CD player. They listen using iTunes or Google Play (or some similar smartphone app).

How about movies? My family usually streams Netflix movies or rents from iTunes. We DO have a DVD player and use it once in awhile. If the DVD is scratched, it will skip in the player … but sometimes ripping it, dumping it into iTunes, and watching it using my AppleTV fixes that problem.

And what if we’re going on a trip, and want to watch 3-4 movies in the car? We don’t own a portable DVD player … but we DO own an iPad.

Yes, you can guess what we do.

And that relates directly back to your library, because a growing percentage of your customers listen and watch media using mobile devices.

That growing reality makes me wonder if we should teach customers how to use software tools like iTunes or Handbrake? With a disclaimer attached, just like in the days of the heavily used library copy machines – “Here’s how to use the copy machine. Just don’t do anything illegal” (knowing full well what some of those customers were doing).

What do you think? Should we:

  • Teach customers the best way to copy our library content to their favorite digital listening/viewing device (and teach them how to delete it when they’re done, too)?
  • Continue to offer easily downloaded CDs and DVDs, and just assume some customers will figure out how to burn the discs?
  • Something else entirely?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Image from slipperybrick.com

EveryoneOn – a Digital Literacy Campaign

Have you heard about the EveryoneOn campaign? I saw some early info about it, then didn’t hear anything else. But I met some people working on the project while at SXSW, and it actually does sound like a great idea (assuming they can get buy-in from local libraries)!

So – here’s some info they sent me to explain what’s going on:

The goal of the campaign is to help get every American online so they can enrich their lives through access to more job opportunities, education, government resources and saving time and money.

The messaging for EveryoneOn includes the promotion of libraries as a vital tech hub in the community. The campaign sentiment is “we love the Internet” AND “we love libraries.” Especially on the social media communities, we’re sharing a lot of data about the role of libraries in digital literacy and also promoting the types of innovative services they provide. The training center locator (searched by zip code) includes many libraries, so this is helping to connect libraries to their communities.

Libraries can get involved by:

All of the info on how to get involved is aggregated in an online toolkit for libraries and partners, and a new site with digital literacy resources can be found here.

One BIG thought I had was this – how does this benefit libraries? In talking with the two people I met, they thought that libraries were already working hard to bridge the digital divide, but not everyone knows about it. So this  national Ad Council campaign has the potential to give the issue … and libraries a lot of much-needed visibility.

Sounds cool to me – definitely worth finding out more! Here’s a video connected with the project:

Check out Lori Reed Learning Solutions

On Lori’s blog today (you do subscribe to it, right?), she made an announcement:

“One of the things I’ve most enjoyed over the past few years is visiting other libraries and working with their trainers and staff. Beginning July 1st I’ll do this full time as Lori Reed Learning Solutions.

My passion has always been to help others grow. Now I’m ready to take this to the next level and work with libraries and other organizations to maximize their investment in staff development.”

Lori knows a TON about training and speaking, and plans to do a lot more of that – check our her blog post, what her plans are (and how that might fit in with your library’s training needs), and her new business.

Congrats, Lori!


A Better Experience Begins with Staff

From the MSN Money site (via Steven M. Cohen’s Shared Items in Google): “This unique in-store education event signals the company’s focus on transforming the Starbucks Experience for both customers and partners. Starbucks hopes any customers inconvenienced by the early closures will see this as an investment that will have long term benefits. For their part, Starbucks partners will have an opportunity to connect and deepen their passion for coffee with the ultimate goal of transforming the customer experience.”

What’s going on? Every Starbucks is closing from 5:30pm-8:30pm on February 26 in order to “truly enjoy the art of espresso as Starbucks baristas demonstrate their passion to pull the perfect shot, steam milk to order, and customize their favorite beverage.”

OK – get past the silly corporate schnozz and focus on what Starbucks just said:

  1. Their goal? transforming the Starbucks Experience.
  2. Where did they start? Their employees.

Starbucks gave their in-store experience some thought, and realized the “main thing” is their expresso drinks. So … why not train staff to make the best expressos?

Now – what’s your library’s “expresso” or “main thing” that everyone needs to know about? Here’s an example: A “Big Thing” at my library is our new website (which I’ll be posting about soon!). This afternoon, our Digital Services Supervisor and myself are holding the first of many training sessions on how to post to it (much bloggy goodness) and how to write for the web.

What are the things everyone working at your library needs to know? And … what are you doing about it?