Accommodating Shifting User Expectations
Type : Conference paper
Access : openAccess
Whether they are called netgeners, born digital, digital natives, screenagers, Generation Y or Generation Z, the current and next generation of library users want everything, and they want it now. They communicate constantly, tapping and swiping I-Phones, I-Pads and androids as they broadcast their daily activities via Twitter and Facebook. They rarely sit still and do nothing and do not discriminate in using technology between their personal and professional lives – studying, working and living are all integrated in the mashed-up infosphere. They are readers, viewers, listeners, writers and speakers and use a variety of media. What use do they make of libraries? What do they want from us? How do library buildings accommodate their needs? One emerging trend is the need for silence – the generation who communicates constantly via their fingers and thumbs and the photographic record seems to want quieter spaces in libraries. They remain voyeurs and view others at work and play – but more silently it seems, although they still want opportunities to meet with others and discuss learning and life – preferably with food and drink. They are serious about what they do and want to be treated with respect and empathy. Digital natives want their information resources delivered seamlessly with voice and vision included, not just words on paper or on a screen. In Google we Trust is their mantra and if it is on the web, it must be true. Digital natives have difficulty evaluating what they find and tend to regard all information as equal in value. Their approach to scholarship and learning needs to be developed. They regard the full output of scholarly work in one continuum whether it is real or virtual. And the library buildings for this generation? Digital natives want attractive buildings which are easy to use and provide pleasant environments and a relaxing space with plenty of technology. They want to plug in, power up and prowl the internet. They want “high tech” but they also want “high touch”. They want individual personalized help wherever they might be – and at varying times of day – my place, my space, my time – and targeted to my needs. The paper explores the needs of digital natives and some of the possible changes in library building design to accommodate the shifting sand of user needs.
Source : WLIC, 77th IFLA General Conference and Assembly
Date : 2011-11-08
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