Public Libraries Online comes right out and says it: “your library is the most important place in your town”. They make it abundantly clear that the value that libraries provide is multifaceted. The article pinpoints five significant ways that libraries contribute to the community. Libraries are community builders, community centers for diverse populations, centers for the arts, universities for the people, and champions of youth. Regardless of your perspective, it’s obvious that public libraries are so much more than just a collection of books on shelves.
Forbes agrees calling libraries ‘dynamic, versatile community centers‘. And this is no hollow claim. More than 1.59 billion people visited public libraries in the United States in 2009 and 2.4 billion books were lent, which amounts to over eight times per citizen. And not only are people using libraries, but they’re costing American citizens just $42 per citizen each year to maintain.
The rise of the internet has significantly changed the way that people interact with information and the way that they view libraries. Libraries no longer seem to command the same influence that they once did. Some skeptics even claim that they’ll soon become obsolete. But others still know that libraries have tons to offer. While libraries’ collections are an obvious way that they contribute to their community, they also play a major role as community centers and can continue to do so in the future.
In spite of all of the ways that libraries can help communities, the 21st Century Librarian blog points out that libraries’ benefit to the community has often been devalued as of late. It seems with increasingly frequency, there are stories of funding being taken from public libraries. Just a few years ago, the Governor of California cut $14 million from their library budget. But it’s not just limited to one area. Out in North Carolina, budget cuts also caused several Charlotte-Mecklenberg public libraries to have to close down for good. This reality is all too common, but it needn’t be.
One of the best ways to increase your library’s relevance and ensure that its crucial role in your community is resoundingly clear is by ensuring that you have a top-notch mobile strategy to engage your patrons. With the average US mobile consumer spending almost 90% of their time in native apps, a mobile app is the ideal way to get patrons’ attention. Getting a Boopsie custom mobile app for your library can generate excitement by showing your patrons you’re committed to the future, increase accessibility by bringing all that you have to their palm of your patrons’ hands, and it can drive people to come into your library to take advantage of all of the wonderful events and workshops that you may have. Not only will the library be in the forefront of their mind, but you can actually put your calendar of events seamlessly into this easily accessible and easy to use mobile app.
All of these improvements will boost usage, create buzz, and send a message that public libraries aren’t going anywhere. Needless to say, the more enthusiasm your library is able to generate, the greater ROI you will get on your subscriptions and databases – so your library and community stands to benefit from a financial perspective as well.
Over 4,000 Boopsie libraries worldwide love their custom Boopsie app! Contact Boopsie for more information about how your library can stay on top of the latest technology and better engage your tech-savvy community. Sign up for a public library demo, here.