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Using technology to deliver an improved library experience

  By UNIT-e   - Wednesday 29 July 2020

The library remains at the heart of the student experience. However, the way in which students are using their library services is changing. The rise of distance and blended learning has placed new demands on library service. They study in new ways, adopting a variety of media and they expect to be able to access information at the touch of a button.

So, how can technology help to meet these increasing expectations and ensure that libraries are ready to meet the demands of today’s student consumer? Here are three simple ways your LMS can help:

  • A challenge that will continue as long as there are still physical books is the need to ensure that students can locate the items that they require, even if they are incorrectly shelved or hidden. Smart shelf technology can be used to overcome the problem. This actually informs the librarian of the exact location of each and every book – enabling it to be found even if it has been put away in the wrong place. this does away with the irritation of finding out that the one book a student needs for their research is not in the place it is meant to be.
  • A key requirement from students is that they can access what they need to seamlessly. Having to use multiple passwords and access different learning systems is time consuming. A single sign on point via the student portal or VLE, where one username and password provides access to all learning and library resources, is not only desirable but expected. Integration with the student portal gives tutors the opportunity to provide specific course reading lists and the ability for students to reserve those resources online.
  • Managing payments manually during office hours can be time consuming for library staff and is at odds with student expectations. An e-payment solution means that students can pay their library charges at their own convenience, either online or via the library’s self-service terminals. Many academic libraries also use the portal to post information on overdue books, allow the payment of fines and enable catalogue searching.

During a time of rapid technological advances, innovation is key to meeting and exceeding student expectations. Today’s learners invest heavily in their future so it’s not surprising that they demand the same investment in library facilities too.

In order to deliver a truly outstanding service, libraries need to listen closely to the student voice and adopt the tools that students are familiar with using outside of their studies. Only then will they be able to fully meet the needs of today’s tech savvy student consumer.