Smart technology continues to change our society. This includes libraries and other community learning settings. There are places of education, knowledge, and ideas. These “smart” changes can feel like a big ask. It all depends on the context, funding, and tech fluency of a community. However, these systems upgrades are quite accessible. Additionally, they have big financial and professional trade-offs for the better.
So, in the case of libraries, we’re going to focus on how smart lockers turn library problems into solutions. We’ll take a closer look at what those library problems are and how people are solving them via automated lockers, for the benefit of staff and clientele alike.
There’s no need for smart tech to be intimidating, especially when it can make such a big difference in smoothing out operations and making books, journals, and even IT rentals that much more accessible for people.
Common Library Problems
Problems can and will stump the best, most curious minds. Yep, even in the library.
According to a Wiley poll librarians face a variety of challenges. Dicey situations include:
Budget. This may come from federal, state, or institutional funding and it’s a major challenge. Libraries are often in a position where they have to defend their current funding while also growing it.
Managing Library Operations And Staff. Like any industry, the daily operating tasks and staff management are a constant swirl of challenges and unexpected twists. Inefficiencies bog down all operations.
Understanding Research Trends And Public Expectations of Library’s Role. For libraries to have a positive impact, they need to be effective environments for learning, research, and empowerment. As our societies change at rapid speeds, so too do the trends and roles of those making the library tick and hum.
These are just three examples. Of course, library professionals are also juggling policy changes, public relations, and continually transitioning collections from print to digital. The room may be quiet, but don’t be fooled! There are plenty of library tribulations to be overcome.
Smart Lockers: Efficient Systems For Libraries
For libraries, efficiency is key. With efficiency, all challenges become an easier process to tackle. Based on the examples above, we can see how this plays out:
Let’s say a library installs an area of smart lockers in a public area and also in their staff areas. They can do so in a way that is customizable to match their existing aesthetic. Additionally, they can create a cohesive environment for education and other efforts. The lockers provide 24/7 support to those who use them, which is added support for the library staff and the library patrons.
And then, for example, a library technician can use these smart lockers as a means to facilitate and simplify the rental and return process. Patrons no longer have to wait in long lines to rent or pick up items. Library staff can efficiently organize lockers to be ready in a quick and easy way. Managers and technicians can spend their precious time elsewhere. Instead of stretching to compensate for outdated systems, professionals can dig into areas of research and possible grant writing, for instance.
This will have positive impacts on the budget (many libraries’ biggest challenges). Library professionals can use current funding on meaningful tasks. Their efforts in adding to the current budget can actually be implemented and secured.
In using smart technology, all staff is empowered to focus more on their specialties and gifts. In automating the elements of operation that can easily be automated through smart technology, the work environment improves.
Library Charm Combines With A Smart Future
Any library professional worth their mettle knows the age-old charm and magic of a library lies in the connections made, lessons learned, and research unearthed and synthesized. This has been a critical element of libraries since their inception. It’s a delightful part of their mystique and allure. But all this is not to say that libraries shouldn’t also be at the cutting edge of progress. In fact, it is important that they do just that.
Keeping up with tech advances helps the bottom line of operating costs. It also buoys research and enlightenment. People enter the doors with a question in their mind. It is a beautiful thing when technological advances facilitate the curious spirit of people. Libraries may be the best example of this very thing.
In conclusion, from the ancient history of Alexandria to the Vatican, to the Library of Congress, to the neighborhood library around the corner, we see how our libraries reflect who we are. They hold what we set to the record. They change, as we do, with technology and the unfolding annals of time.