Library Beacons are micro-location information services that allow libraries to send targeted, location-relevant messages to customer devices that are bluetooth enabled. Simply put, beacons are small transmitters that use Bluetooth technology to send information to Bluetooth devices. They can transmit signals up to 250 feet!
So, exactly how are Beacons being used in libraries today? Well, they can be used to send any number of messages, including notifications of upcoming programs and events. You might be asking where targeted messages come in? That’s easy, when customers use the library, they can receive messages in different areas as they move through the space. A parent walking through the children’s area could receive notification of an upcoming children’s program, an adult walking through the fiction stacks could receive notification of current top circulating fiction titles. Beacons can even be used to notify customers if they have holds for pick up or any overdue items.
Beacon technology has already been introduced in major stores like Target and the Hudson’s Bay Company and is slowly making its way into select library systems. Before tooting the Library Beacon horn, we may want to ask: What are the downsides to this technology? Well, for one, they often require the download of an app to perform. Also, Bluetooth itself can drain your device of much needed juice. The exchange of information and any unwelcome notifications that are sent may even be considered a breach of privacy by some.
What do you think? Are beacons a good idea? Yes or No