How Are Libraries Adapting to the Rapid Advancements in AI Technology?

In this post:

  • Libraries are a place where artificial intelligence can have a greater positive impact.
  • AI can reduce librarians’ workload so that they can focus on community engagement.
  • Virtual presence is becoming an essential part of library culture.

AI has a lot to do with libraries. Artificial intelligence will change the way librarians do their day-to-day tasks, and it will also have other major impacts on information literacy and patron privacy.

With the rapid development of AI, it is becoming harder for libraries to ignore technology, and 2024 seems to be a year of major impact on the sector as automation arrives on the bookshelves.

Research and managing catalogs seem to be the main areas that artificial intelligence will potentially improve with automation, along with many other trends that we might see this year revolutionizing libraries.

A reading agency reported that last year, libraries in the UK issued 165 million books to seven million users. But at the same time, demand for e-books, journals, and audiobooks increased, which was four times more than that of physical books and 13% more than a year before.

The emerging trends are also hinting at the changing preferences of patrons, and to maintain their communities, libraries will have to enhance their automation capabilities to improve their engagement and sustainability.

Going virtual is essential for libraries

The expectations of patrons are increasing, and they now expect a more seamless excess of library resources. Libraries are expected to introduce their virtual versions, especially for e-literature and e-resources, with some already providing these services. 

Catering to virtual needs seems like the most important step to increasing the number of users, both physically and online. Libraries in the United States are ahead of others in this regard; for example, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) provides free digital access to books to ensure that they are meeting the demands of patrons.

Last year, DPLA also introduced The Banned Book Club to facilitate members who are affected by book bans so that they can access them for free via an app called Palace e-reader. The executive director of DPLA, John S. Bracken, while mentioning the technology at the time, said,

“At DPLA, our mission is to ensure access to knowledge for all, and we believe in the power of technology to further that access.”

Source: DPLA.

DPLA is also enhancing the experience by working as more than a library, as it works with a large network of patrons to develop multimedia content and makes it accessible to all.

AI and the library culture

The usual business of libraries remains conceptually the same as borrowing and lending books, but user behavior is determined by the social communities around us. The idea of leveraging AI may not sit well with many patrons, but its integration will definitely make the day-to-day duties of librarians quite easy. Many libraries have adopted virtual assistants and smart speakers, so now their e-collections are becoming more streamlined with the improvement in voice recognition bots.

AI is helping with the cumbersome tasks of librarians, for example, organizing and monitoring inventory. Some libraries are using ChatGPT to check if a book does not align with the law of the land. Utilizing AI for such censorship saves time for staff so that they can use it for community-based activities and engaging with users.

With AI, libraries can better use analytics to understand patron usage patterns and their preferences so that they can work on their collections and plan accordingly. Patrons’ experiences can also be improved by automatic recommendations by AI systems based on their histories and preferences. 

While leveraging technology, libraries have to ensure their patrons’ privacy, and they have to keep this point in mind when deciding on a vendor. Testing in beta mode is also a must before rolling out the solution to users so that librarians can decide if they want to utilize it or not. Kira Smith, a librarian working with Ask a Librarian, said,

“I think that it’s important to protect patrons’ privacy because it’s nobody else’s business what you like to read, so I would think long and hard before sharing that kind of circulation data with any sort of AI or other system.”

Source: Azpbs.

It is also important to tell users about the type of information that their AI tool may keep about them and how it will be used in the future to ensure transparency. The librarian’s role is important in keeping everyone on board. AI can be used as a tool, but it can never be a replacement.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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