Public libraries are getting the biggest push to increase online access, but some say they need to be a little more transparent about what they are doing to get people to sign up.
The Minnesota Public Library Association (MPLA) says that in the next six months it is going to release a digital platform that is designed to make it easier for people to find and use public libraries.
But in an interview, MPLA executive director Michael Smith says there are some limitations.
“It’s not going to be perfect,” he says.
You can’t be completely transparent and give people everything you know about how to get the most out of your library, Smith says.
The digital platform will also be limited in its scope to what you already have, he adds.
In the past, the MPLL has been very upfront about its efforts to make the internet accessible.
That includes making sure that people who have difficulty accessing the library online can find it on their mobile devices.
MPLL says the platform will be built around the MPSE model of digital technology, which means it will have a strong focus on accessibility.
However, it won’t be limited to that.
It’s going to include a lot of tools to make sure that libraries can be used and accessed by all people, Smith adds.
There are some caveats, he says, including that there will be a limited number of libraries that will be featured.
The MPL is also exploring ways to make library card readers more convenient, and Smith says it is working with libraries to create a mobile app for those readers.
One of the tools the MPA is exploring is using QR codes on a smartphone to send people the digital library card.
Some MPLAs digital platform also has a set of tools that can be configured for different audiences, such as allowing people to log in and check out at their local library.
There is also an MPSe mobile app that lets people search for public libraries in their area.
Smith says the digital platform is still in early stages, but it has already begun to make a difference.
“I think we’re going to see more and more libraries in Minnesota become accessible to all users and I think it’s going be a very important piece in making that happen,” Smith says, adding that he expects it to be available in the fall.
I hope that it will be able to bring new and interesting ways of finding libraries, MPSeer said.
This story is part of a partnership between The Associated Press and NPR.