Consumers these days can do almost anything with a click of a mouse or a tap on a screen. Goods can be bought and delivered within hours. New products can be easily browsed. And online advertising seems to magically target its ideal audience, connecting customers with items matching their needs and wants.
This easy and instant access to goods and information is changing consumer expectations and could threaten our more established institutions, notably libraries. With budget constraints and limited resources, libraries can’t be expected to invest millions in research and development, experiment with unproven gadgets, or compete with the tech giants driving these changes. While technology presents a threat, however, it also offers solutions for ensuring libraries remain relevant and essential parts of our communities. One tool that can help ensure a library’s longevity is what’s known as big data.