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Using Magic-Like Muti-Touch Tables in Libraries

Librarians who are looking for high-tech, wow-factor ways to excite and engage customers should check out what’s happening in the area of multi-touch tables. A session by two Dutch librarians showed off how they are using the tables now and what new applications they’re building into the next generation.

Multi-Touch Table Presentation

Jaap van de Geer (R) and Erik Boekesteijn (L) of DOK Lab in Delft, Netherlands, have been working with programming colleague Koen Rotteveel to create new ways for people to use these surfaces. Multi-touch tables act like the touch-screen or your iPads or smart phones, except they are larger & more functional. Already in DOK, the library concept center, they’ve been using multi-touch tables for projects like one with the Cultural Heritage Center of Delft, where they’ve taken 25,000 pictures that were “hidden away in a dusty archive” and put the digital versions in the table for people to explore. Here’s a video that shows how it works, although Koen has created many more advances since this time.

Jaap told the crowd, “We strongly believe in entrepreneurial libraries.” Projects like this one, which was developed for DOK and is now being offered for sale to other organizations, prove that librarians can be developers.

Marketing Mania in Track B

I’ve been spending my time in the marketing track today, and good ideas and tips have been flying.

The morning began with Nancy Dowd, marketing director of the NJ State Library (and my blog partner over at The M Word). She discussed 10 trends that can give your marketing a "second life," such as relating to people with stories, listening to customers and letting them run the conversations, and promoting your green-ness. She’ll be posting her slides on The M Word soon.


Then the crowd heard Aaron Schmidt and Sarah Houghton-Jan do a really useful tag-team presentation on making your web site more useful, findable, read, and used. They told the crowds about tons of websites where librarians should register their own websites so surfers and searchers can find them. And most are free & easy — you can’t beat that!

They’ll be posting their talk as well, and this dynamic duo has a related article coming out in the Nov/Dec issue of Marketing Library Services soon.

One of the afternoon speakers was Geert van den Boogaard, who discussed digital marketing at DOK, the Library Concept Center in Delft, the Netherlands. Geert wowed the crowd with things DOk does, such as greeting people via Bluetooth connections as they enter the building, and screencasting messages within the building on a Wii platform.

One thing that van den Boogaard emphasized was one of my own main marketing points: First, understand your patrons and what they want. That idea should be the foundation of all your marketing and promotion.

~Kathy Dempsey


Online Marketing in Public Libraries

 I moved downstairs to the online marketing session. Lauren Stokes, Las Vegas-Clark County public library, starts off with blogs. There are staff blogs and patron blogs. She finds she gets better feedback from the staff with the blog format. Read me Vegas is book discussion blog, with Tuesday Trivia and Random Thursday. Tie databases into discussion. Librarian’s Brain is for patrons. It has tutors, games, tips, lesson plans.

To promote the collection created site called Books, Movies & More. Use BookLetters for CMS. Circulation is up. Materials put on the revolving list immediately become popular. Looks to me like a plug for push technology.
She’s also got a data challenge game. Covers website evaluations and comparisons; asks questions about databases and search strategies. Thre’s another one about The Great Gatsby. Petstacular and Neon’s Brain Blaster are other information literacy games.
Now it’s a computer switch to Geert van den Boogaard from DOK, Delft, Netherlands. His topic is "Connect to people in a library." He’s an industrial designer. Library Concept Center has listening chairs with combination of music. To market effectively, must understand audience. DOK Agora project has large multimedia screen in library. The idea is for people to tell their own story, have their own exhibition. Publish the best stories in the local newspaper. Digital Art is a project for the art library. Put LED screen in classroom and put different digitized art work up every day. Then compare digitized version with real one. Narrowcasting system used at DOK serves as in-house information system and directional signage. It runs on Nintendo Wii. DOK uses Bluetooth to greet users walking into the library with a picture, if patron has activated Bluetooth connection. They’ve got a FlickR photostream.
Yes, DOK both stocks books and prints books. They have rights to the art works so they can use. Want patrons to see something new every time they enter library. They build it, then see what people think of it.
Marydee Ojala