The conference was one of the best I have ever been to. Greatly due to the wonderful people that you can meet and listen to, but also because of great programming.
One of the best parts of this conference is the conversations you have during breaks and meals. This year I got a chance to sit and talk to Åke Nygren, Michael Stephens, Trude Westby and many others. It is such a priviledge to learn from and share with so many brilliant people.
On the last day I started a conversation with Åke Nygren about a thought that popped into my head during the day. Why do we insist that library members log into library websites with library card number and a pin-code? Why not let them have the option to log in with their Facebook credentials, OpenID, Google- or Twitter login? I see this option at more and more sites and would like to have this possibility available for my library members as well.
Library cards are useful, for libraries, not for library users. They are an anachronism from the analog days. Why not go the way of Social Login? The ease of use for our websites and services would be greatly increased. The possibilities for communication and services increased.
As we stand today I can see several problems with library cards.
1. They are one-use-cards. They are not useful for any other purpose (except scraping ice off car windows in winter) – other cards usually have multiple purposes today – my bank-card is also an ID, my work identidy card is an ID-card that also opens doors and gives me access to parking.
So I believe we have two paths to go in the “identify library member” game:
1. Make it easy to use some other means of identification to use library services both online and IRL. Facebook login, use other ID-cards as library card etc.
2. Make the library card more useful and full of added value. The card can be upgraded with memory chips and contain more information, poems, audio clips, special offers or access to “premium services”.