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Leveraging AI Technologies in Libraries through Experimentation-Driven Frameworks

This column aims to explore the frameworks to help libraries foster digital innovation by leveraging AI technologies through continuous experimentation to innovate their services for their patrons. Additionally, the column seeks to highlight the benefits and interplay between the frameworks, providing insights for librarians interested in implementing AI solutions and driving technological advancements in library settings. The column reports two frameworks - The Need-Based Experimentation (NBE) Framework and the Curiosity-Based Experimentation (CBE) Framework based on the author’s professional experiences and empirical observations of 10 university libraries’ experimentation-driven AI technology adoption practices. The NBE framework focuses on experimenting with AI technologies that have the functional capability to address the library’s current business needs. In contrast, the CBE framework explores AI technologies out of curiosity, aiming to gain practical experiences and uncover potential future applications, aligned with the librarian’s interests. These frameworks guide librarians to effectively experiment with AI technology based on their motivations and goals. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, there is no experimentation-driven framework for adopting AI technologies to assist libraries do so strategically. The adoption of AI should be influenced by carefully planned, ongoing experiments, the results of which should be deployed in real to inform adoption decisions.

(Un)Social Media Services at the People’s University: A Survey of City of Cape Town Public Libraries, South Africa

One of the core objectives of public libraries is the unrestricted provision of information resources and services to meet the information and educational needs of individuals and societies. Social media has grown very popular to become a basic component for everyday living. The aim of this study was to assess the use of social media platforms for information services provision in public libraries in Cape Town, South Africa in order to establish the opportunities and challenges. Using the technology acceptance model (TAM), the study sought to evaluate social media platform usage; ascertain the information resources/services and type of content shared on social media platforms by public libraries in Cape Town; as well as appraise the challenges and opportunities in the use of social media in public library services at the municipal public libraries. The descriptive survey research was quantitatively used to survey 102 public libraries in Cape Town. The research findings revealed that services including promotion and marketing of library services, updates on new arrivals, and live streaming of library activities were provided through social media. Policy at the libraries places a limit on social media use to a single social media platform by public librarians for official library services provision. This research adds to the scarce literature on the use of social media in public libraries in developing countries especially those in Africa where Internet penetration is still low by identifying challenges and opportunities. Library users have not been included in this study and their views of library services through social media are not captured in this report. The results by implication interpreted the TAM model by incorporating a new construct: preference of choice, informed by the study findings.