Thursday, September 01, 2005

The impact of gas prices on your digital library

Energy prices were already rising due to increased demand from China and other areas that are using more oil. Katrina has made matters worse. One impact that will occur, of course, is that people will drive less. Driving will be what we do when we really need something. We will no longer drive just to drive.

With this shift in gas prices and people changing their driving patterns, I think that digital libraries will be used more as well as the online "ask a librarian" services (and may even telephone reference services). Why drive to look something up when you can do it from home (or work)?

Now here are the key questions:
  • Do your users know how to use your services online?
  • Do they know how much they can access without physically coming to the library? (Names of resources, types of content, subject coverage...)
  • Have you reminded them recently so it really stands out to them?
If you can e-mail your patrons, do it and remind them of your online services. Tell them how they can use your services without driving to see you.

Post notes in your library's blog, newsletter, homepage, etc.

Try to get your local media to publish an article (or more) about what's available from the library without driving to the library.

If you deal with a specific user group -- corporate employees, college students, whatever -- use the right communication methods to reach them.

Oh, you think they know already? Perhaps...but it never hurts to remind people of our services. And in this instance, we can talk about saving gas (as well as saving travel time) by accessing resources online.

1 comment:

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