Without exception, catering to the mobile user is near the top of every marketing prognosticators must do list for businesses in 2015. Getting your product in front of customers and get them engaged is a major objective for all marketing departments. Social media outlets are great for getting a library’s message out to users but for these methods to be effective they require constant attention by supplying users with exceptional content. Even though they value their local library and would like to frequent it oftentimes people don’t have the ability to reach a library branch or can carve out the time to frequent it and use its services.

LibraryBox can help solve the problem of reaching users where they are and offering library material directly to their mobile device. What is LibraryBox? In his own words, Jason Griffey on LibraryBox describes it as, “an open source, portable digital file distribution tool based on inexpensive hardware that enables delivery of educational, healthcare, and other vital information to individuals off the grid.” Using open source software he has designed a pretty inexpensive tool that libraries can use to front load content from the library and place it nearly anywhere users might come in contact with the signal. When in range of a transmitting LibraryBox a notification shows that allows for connection to the router.

This can be a great way to get useful library content to users where they frequent when not at the library. Partner with a business at a mall or busy restaurant and have content available to patrons wherever they are. Right next door to my library is a wood fired pizza and microbrewery that my family stops at after we make our once a month pilgrimage to our library. We live about forty minutes away so when we go we load up for the long haul. But we also take the opportunity to frequent one of our favorite eating spots.

We are always met with stares as the three of us order then sit in a corner reading our newly begotten material. My ten year old daughter gets the most looks, mostly from other children who look suspiciously over their devices at her actually reading books. But what if those other parents could connect their kid’s devices to a LibraryBox in the restaurant that would not only entertain them while they are out but also provide educational and safe material from the library.

Think of LibraryBox as a digital bookmobile that doesn’t need the time or cost expenditure of traditional methods of marketing to users outside of the library. The Starbucks or other coffee shops where the patrons go to read their eBooks from the library because they offer drinks and eats is another possibility for reminding users of what your library offers. The LibraryBox Wi-Fi signal will show up alongside any other available networks and when accessed could even give a gentle reminder of the free Wi-Fi available at the local library.

One of the great features of LibraryBox is that all the code is open source so it can be modified to allow for each library to change how it functions to meet its particular needs. Below are links to some sites that have really dug into using LibraryBox. Written by Ian Richardson

https://vibrantoutlook.wordpress.com/tag/librarybox/

http://www.lakeforestlibrary.org/about-the-library/user-guides.html?layout=edit&id=327

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