This week’s topic is social commerce. One of the topics discussed is connecting users through engagement and interaction on mobile apps to enhance a purchasing or shopping decision or using services. Through an information professional or library and information lens, one of the apps introduced is called MyLibrary!
I’m unfamiliar with library-related apps. The apps I introduce to patrons are mostly services that we offer the library. For example, we have an ebook and audiobook system, called OverDrive. Patrons can download the OverDrive app onto their Kindle or iPad tablets, or even iPhones, and listen to eBooks and audiobooks. There’s also Hoopla, which is a streaming service for TV shows, movies and music. They can download the Hoopla app onto their devices, as well. But, what MyLibrary! does is connect these services and their library account all in one place.
With MyLibrary! users can scan books at the library to know what their looking for and retrieve information for that book. They can also see all the available formats of that item at the library. The app also provides checking out ebooks from OverDrive and putting holds on items on their account. They can also search items in their library’s catalog. They can also see their account information like checked-out items and what is overdue. The app also features seeing the libary’s social media platforms. I haven’t taken a look at the app, but they said that a new feature being added was self-checkout. With this, users can check out the item by scanning the book themselves with the app.
Since the app can offers many features, doesn’t this take away from using the library’s services and what they have to offer, in a way? Doesn’t the app dissuade a patron from using the library’s catalog or calling the library with assistance of acquiring holds or looking up information of an item? What this app offers are also duties that circulation performs at the library. In a sense, doesn’t this app take away a circulation clerk’s role and job? While an app like this can be convenient, fast and accessible, I am concerned that it takes away of going to the library and using their services. Again, there is nothing that can beat human-to-human contact and personal assistance and conversations.
While these apps can be adapted or already are in LIS environments, one must think what their place will be like in the future for library settings.