Thomas and I have worked together at Internet Librarian International 2008 and back in the day doing a podcast or two about Library 2.0. He’s one of the good thinkers in LIS who I wish I had more of a chance to sit with and talk. Glad to see his take on the iPad this morning.
For libraries the iPad will have little immediate impact. What it probably will do, if it is a hit in the marketplace, is that it will fuel reader demand for e-books. I predict that it will be a slow development, but maybe too fast for many librarians. When the demand for e-books is for Nora Roberts latest romance novel, rather than some science fiction blockbuster or main stream popular science non-fiction, and the person wanting the e-book is the harassed mother with three kids running around her at the library desk, then e-books will have arrived in the library. This could happen if the iPad really hits it off with the public.
For libraries there are two main challenges:
1. How do we get content from the library to the iPad and similar devices, and can libraries use iBook or the AppStore as a delivery method? I think there will be several opportunities, and that binding libraries to a cooperation with Apple to get in through the iBook store probably will be difficult and even counterproductive. There are at least two avenues to go, either create an international LibraryBook app (open source of course), that will work on any operating system, or cooperate with the creators of any of the open source apps that are out there to deliver books through them. Both avenues has their pros- and cons, but I believe that to secure a future for the library brand it would be a good idea to develop a special library app.
2. Will the iPad and iPad like devices change the media habits of readers? Very likely. The iPod and iPhone has both changed a lot of behaviour and expectations from library users, and how other devices are viewed and used. I expect to see increasing demand for content on tablets from readers and probably pressure on the library to deliver certain types of content, i.e. ebooks.
I’m looking forward to getting my hands on an iPad and try it out in my library.
So am I – to try it out with my students and colleagues at Dominican.