The dynamics of public libraries are shifting from being transactional to relational. This means that libraries are turning into local and creative communities that provide experiences instead of plain services – lending and returning of books. Offering relational services creates more value to patrons. However, for this “relationship” to work, library services should be aligned with what patrons want.
Nowadays, self-service printing is one of the trending BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) technologies to implement in your library. This allows your patrons to print and pay from their own devices in no time, with no staff interaction needed.
Why do patrons expect your library to open up to this type of printing service?
Listening and responding to your visitors’ needs is what will make them come back to you and this blog post will present you the 5 main reasons why your visitors expect such an innovative service from you.
1. ‘Doing-everything-on-my-device’ syndrome
It’s not a surprise that personal digital devices have turned into powerful tools for both everyday tasks and work-related responsibilities. So nowadays, the utility of personal gadgets has become more of a necessity than a luxury. People use mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, with the expectation that it can handle every task. Taking smartphones as an example, it is quite evident that it is the most preferred device by the majority. Statistically speaking, 87% of Millennials say their smartphone ‘never leaves their side’ and 60% of them expect that in the next five years everything to be handled on mobile devices.
When given the opportunity, your visitors prefer to use their mobile devices for absolutely everything because it’s simply comfortable and flexible. Consequently, embracing the ‘doing-everything-on-my-device’ syndrome can make your library’s printing service more attractive.
2. Mobile Apps – the latest trend
Keeping up with technology can be challenging for your library but full of potential when it comes to satisfying your visitors’ needs. Forbes website has accurately predicted that ‘Mobile Is The Future of Everything’ and indeed the usage of mobile apps is now inseparable from people’s lives.
Mobile apps are expected to generate tremendous revenues by 2020 according to Statista. Consequently, people will opt to be more and more reliant on using mobile apps compared to browser-based solutions. In respect to libraries, during his interview with Princh, Mick Fortune fully acknowledged the potential of mobile apps and the fact that technology has a lot to offer to a modern library.
Allowing your visitors to access library services via a mobile app is one of the technologies that will turn your library to the ‘Library of the future’. Mobile apps can be used as tools for printing i.e. self-service printing solution that can give your visitors the opportunity to upload their document, pay for the print job and then release it all within an app.
3. Request for user-friendly interfaces
The value of mobile apps reflects people’s need for user-friendly solutions. By watching the webinar on “Understanding the Mobile Patron”, you will quickly realise the significance of user-friendliness in your library’s digital services.
Libraries should aim for natural user interfaces when it comes to technology. This means that your patrons’ interaction with computers and mobile devices should feel as natural as possible and it should work for everyone. The easier you make it for your visitors to benefit from your services, the more satisfied they will be.
When it comes to printing, your visitors expect to handle their printing jobs by having zero assistance on how to upload documents, release jobs and pay. It’s important that your printing solution is quick to respond, has clearly defined steps and doesn’t require a lot of effort or technological skills. Plus, you’ll save lots of time, since users can print without staff interaction. You will consequently have more time for other valuable (and way more fun!) library activities.
4. Access to your library’s services 24/7
Another way to make it easier for your patrons to utilize your services is to provide equality of access to your library’s resources for everyone – at any time. Lisa Roberts, Head of Culture and Leisure at Peterborough City Council during her interview with Princh explained that 75% of respondents stated that access outside of normal opening hours was important.
Similarly, the open library concept has been trending lately, urging libraries to keep up with the demand for technological adoption and customer independency in making use of library resources. Nowadays, more and more libraries strive to implement an innovative self-service library solution that guarantees the availability of services out of normal opening hours.
What your visitors expect is for you to hand them over the ‘keys’ to your library to use your resources, including printing, when they feel like it.
5. Feeling ‘Safe and Sound’ using their own devices
As previously mentioned, people are comfortable when using their own devices as some patrons perceive that the use of a public PC’s at the library might jeopardize their privacy.
This happens because they fear that they are in less control of their data and documents in the way that files or email addresses containing their private information could be left on the library’s device. This means that your visitors place their trust on you expecting safety in using your technology.
Be aware, that changes are yet to come regarding Data Protection. Safety of personal data is a major concern for public organizations especially for EU-based organizations that have to comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Printing is a service that handles personal data and you should make sure to be GDPR compliant and make your visitors feel ‘safe and sound’.
If you want to know more about self-service printing, check out our free resource ‘Self-service printing for libraries – Made simple’. We share with you everything about self-service printing, helping you to make a better decision when choosing the right printing solution for your library. You will find answers to the following questions:
- What exactly is self-service printing?
- What are the benefits of self-service printing for my library?
- What do I need to know before I implement a self-service printing solution?