Wouldn’t it be cool if you could im, email, call or walk in to a library and get what you want, the way you want it, right now?
Example: IM conversation
patron: hey, do you have any copies of to kill a mockingbird?
librarian: yes we have four copies on shelf right now. would you like to check out a copy today?
patron: yeah, but my car broke down so i can’t get there.
librarian: I can send you an mp3 of the audio book or an electronic text file right now. Of course, if you would rather have the book in hand or listen to it on cd’s I can put you on our home delivery list and it would get out to you in the next few days.
patron: cool i’ll take the e-text file.
This is happening in some places and in some ways, but what I envision is that if a library owns say four copies of To Kill a Mockingbird they are allowed to handout those copies in any format – meaning whatever format is preferable to the patron. If all four copies were checked out they could go into their system and find another library that has a copy on the shelf, stake dibs on one, and offer it to the patron right away in mp3 or e-text format, possibly even as a cd-r if it was cost effective. No more waiting for it to come in through ILL. Maybe this is happening already, but if so it should be happening everywhere!
Just a thought.