TANK U (English)
Last week at ‘Publishing, beyond the book’, a public library seminar on the changing world of media and information the prototype of a download station, TANK U, was presented by Edo Postma of ProBiblio and Eppo van Nispen tot Sevenaer (Delft Public Library). TANK U wants to be a place in town where passers-by may download information on their mobile phone. Made available free of charge by their public library to inspire users with suggestions for reading, viewing or listening. Not the usual run-of-the-mill stuff, but suggestions that broaden one’s horizon and get the user in touch with all things beautiful the library has to offer. That, in short is the essence of this new project, TANK U. A download station full inspiration, made available by the public library.
The world around us and the media landscape are changing at ever increasing speed. The role of the library used to be recognisable: lending out books and supplying information for free. These days this position is being taken up fast by other market parties of all sorts and conditions. At this moment in the Netherlands there are more mobile phones than inhabitants, whilst the technology is forever progressing, giving people access to information anywhere. And where is the library in all this…?
One role of the library is not questioned at all. The library as a guide. The library is the obvious place for making information and material accessible in an easy-to-handle, attractive way for the whole community. The library is a unique place where people are directed to the information they’re seeking; to be inspired and surprised; to come to new insights for personal development and to find new ways. The library stands at the heart of the community, physical, digital, anywhere in cities, towns and villages. The present day however demands ways of delivering these materials and this information other than just by traditional media.
What it is
TANK U is literally a physical download station where you can download content on your mobile phone. It is an attractive noticeable piece of equipment comparable to a fuel pump. TANK U is positioned strategically inside the library, but also outside the library at locations where there are many passers-by. The customer enters his details and selects the information he wants. The data are transferred to the mobile phone by means of a Bluetooth connection and are immediately ready for use. Music, e-books, film trailers, audio books, lists of new additions in the library, college lectures and audio tours can be downloaded in a simple and innovative way. The content is selected by the library and offered thematically and is meant to give the downloader a taste of the surprising content the library has to offer. Attractive content to inspire. Try first, borrow later!
The keyword for the customer is: inspiration. Regularly the customer is supplied with new suggestions and attractive content. Something to look forward to every week. News, fun and inspiration from a reliable source.
TANK U is for the library an important contributor to the new and modern image libraries are aiming for. The technological aspects appeal to target groups that are interested in online information and gadgetry. TANK U has considerable marketing value in drawing more people into the library. It contributes to the loyalty of the library customer, keeping him in the library for a longer period every visit and making more repeat visits. TANK U is a positive contribution to the ‘brand experience’ of the library.
TANK U is also contribution to the digital innovation of the library. It is an addition to the regular services and products of the library. It is used in improving the service levels of the library, encouraging borrowing of the traditional media, and making the library more visible in the community.
In places where many people gather or are waiting it contributes towards passing the time more pleasurably; think of train stations, bus stations, hospital waiting rooms! The whole project offers the library a perfect opportunity to cooperate with private and public partners such as copyright organisations, universities, media companies, publishers, record companies etc.
What’s next ?
The first prototype was received enthusiastically and is the first step towards a new library service. The prototype needs further testing, the technique improving and the equipment made vandal proof and protected against other forms of misuse. There are still issues on Digital Rights Management (DRM), copyright, the business model.
In the Netherlands TANK U is meant to be a pilot for a national network of download stations. The new knowledge will be shared with other libraries. The ultimate goal is a national service organisation taking care of content, maintenance, distribution, negotiations, development etc. This is only the beginning, …….
The equipment was developed by Robin van Slierendregt as a project for the Willem de Kooning Art Academy Rotterdam.
Translation: Ria Smith (ProBiblio) (weblog)