Monday, August 29, 2005

Can you hear me now?

Big news last week as reports about libraries offering audiobook downloads surfaced. A article states, "Librarians say such offerings help libraries stay relevant in the digital age," and "Librarians say they had little interest in audiobook downloads just a few years ago, but they have since noticed what everyone else has: the ubiquity of people sporting earbuds on streets, buses and malls". These reports emphasize the importance of two marketing functions: keeping up with trends and improving distribution channels.

Knowing and understanding trends in how peole get their information can help you anticipate what patrons might need and discover breakthrough opportunities to serve them better. Sometimes, those breakthroughs are uncovering new ways to distribute information to patrons, as the audiobook example shows. What's even better is to be the first to recognize and seize these opportunities so that you can establish your relevance and innovation before others do.

It's not easy to be the first to recognize a good thing, but the payoffs are worth it. In staying ahead of technology trends, check in on the technology sections of newspapers, on relevant blogs and web sites, and keep your eyes open in your own community and ask your patrons what technologies they use. You may also want to look at ALA/LITA's Top Technology Trends page for ideas.

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