Tuesday, February 27, 2024

AVENUES : Advent of digital technologies – Key to success in today’s evolving library environment

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With significant advancements in digital technologies, libraries now find themselves amidst both challenges and opportunities. Succeeding in this dynamic environment requires adapting as well as developing new strategies to retain relevance along with meeting the transforming needs of patrons.
Adopting technology and incorporating it into literary services is one of the key strategies for libraries to prosper in the digital age. Ebooks,multimedia collections and online databases are just a few examples of digital resources that are increasingly utilized by library patrons. Libraries may draw tech-savvy customers and meet their desires for quick and easy information access by investing in digital collections and providing access to various online resources.
Moreover, libraries can utilise technology to optimise the reader experience within their physical building. Self-checkout kiosks, digital displays, and interactive booths are just a few examples of how technology may be employed in a library environment.These innovations simplify processes, boost productivity, and foster a more engaging and dynamic environment for library patrons. Integrating such tech developments draws in a wider audience, promotes community, and encourages discovery by establishing environments that combine conventional resources with technological advancements.
Utilizing digital technologies allows libraries to reach readers beyond their physical boundaries, practically creating a limitless literary space. This allows patrons to remotely access library resources and services with the help of virtual libraries and internet platforms. By creating user-friendly websites and mobile applications, libraries enable readers to explore their catalogue, reserve materials, and communicate with librarians from the comfort of their homes. Virtual programming, such as online book clubs and webinars, enables libraries to interact with a broader audience, including people who might have mobility or geographic restrictions.
Libraries can expand their services to marginalised communities and close the digital gap when integrating such technological developments into their operations. Many people, especially older citizens and members of marginalised groups often need more knowledge and self-assurance to successfully navigate the digital world. To assist people in gaining digital literacy skills, libraries can provide workshops, one-on-one support, and technical training programmes.
Since libraries have long been regarded as reliable arenas for education, study, and intellectual inquiry, they must continue to retain their traditional principles and vital services while adopting new technologies. Libraries serve as gatekeepers of trustworthy and verifiable information in a time of overabundance of data and fabricated news.
With a foundation of information literacy and research, librarians are uniquely qualified to assist users in navigating the complex digital environment and assessing the reliability of online sources. Libraries must continue to place a high priority on knowledge curation and preservation, making sure that both physical and digital collections are accessible to and well-protected for future generations.
(The writer, Amandeep S. Kochar, is the president & group CEO of Baker & Taylor Group of Companies)
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