When it comes to using digital signage, they aren’t just found on the high street and as billboards. It’s now not unusual to see digital signage in libraries too. The places traditionally associated with print and stacked high with thousands of pages.
Wayfinding on digital displays is often found in large, sprawling areas – from University campuses to city centres – delivering detailed information on where a visitor is, where they want to go and the facilities available, and how to get there. With digital signage in libraries, this type of wayfinding information is almost inverted. Libraries are far smaller than a University campus, for instance, yet the level of detail in wayfinding to a particular section or area is often more complex. Digital displays can not only assist users in looking up whether a particular title is available, but also guide them to the right area where they can find it. This offers a twofold benefit: firstly to users who are able to more quickly locate subject areas; and to library staff who then need to spend less time directing and assisting visitors.
One of the most efficient uses of digital signage in libraries is in allocating and advertising free working spaces and conference rooms. Many modern university libraries offer work stations around the building, so for students and visitors being able to quickly see where a free desk space is available saves valuable time in wandering around the building. Institutions such as Cambridge University take things a step further, and offer this sort of service as an accompanying smartphone app, Spacefinder.
Automated borrowing and returning using RFID technology is another area in which large format displays excel, particularly touchscreen enabled displays. Self-service kiosks in University libraries including Warwick and Plymouth rely on Google Chrome-powered displays and RFID readers to make the checking out and in procedure, as well as reserving and collecting books, fast and efficient. Apps including the likes of Destiny Library Manager and Resourcemate can be run from a Chrome mini or micro PC, making automated borrowing affordable for even the smallest libraries.
In the know
Large format digital displays can, of course, be used in libraries to deliver more general information, such as new releases and collections, and answering frequently asked questions. Events schedules, such as book clubs, study groups, and opening and closing times can also be delivered in a more engaging manner than printed signage.
One final advantage? Large format digital signage in libraries are able to inform and educate while blending into the quiet environment of a library – keeping both staff and visitors happy.
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