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Bringing your public library into the digital age with rich digital signs is easy with our quick-read guide.
If you haven’t been over to a public library for a while you might get a nice surprise. The public libraries we frequent have had a digital awakening, making them interactive hubs where you can learn, find rich information, get online, connect with others and of course hire books out too. It also makes us super happy to see so many libraries swapping out their static signs for digital ones. This comes with a wealth of benefits; firstly, digital signs can be updated in an instant. Showing new opening times, special events, social media displays and every important notice that would usually be stuck to the wall (and likely ignored).
Digital signs naturally attract attention and can even be a source of additional revenue through advertising and partnerships.
If you were put in charge of digital signage at your library would you know what to create, or how to get your information up onto your screen?
In this guide we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about creating digital signage in your public library. From choosing hardware and software, to deciding on content, launching it and optimizing playlists and schedules for your audience.
Firstly, you’ll want to focus on what signs you’re going to create, their size and what they’ll look like. The type of hardware is perhaps not as important as you may think. With most digital signage software platforms (like ScreenCloud Signage) you can either use an old screen you already have, or any consumer-grade TV screen that you can pick up at your nearest hardware store.
If your screen is an Android TV (i.e. it has smart capabilities that allow you to connect to the internet) you can add your software easily by downloading an app from the TV’s app store.
However, if your screen isn’t an Android TV or you only wanted to buy a non-smart cheaper version, don’t worry! You can pair any regular TV screen with a media player like an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K($40) or a Chromecast with Google TV ($50) and you can still use the app stores to download your digital signage software.
If you prefer to use a more upgraded device that has minimized security risk and fast deployment capabilities, we recommend going for a more commercial media player like our Station P1 Pro device or even a Chromebox and Intel NUC will be fine too.
Once you have your screen (and a solution to get it connected to the web) the next step is to decide where to position it. This may depend on the content you want to show (a screen playing videos in your ‘quiet area’ may not be the best fit) and also where it’s going to be of most benefit.
Some questions to ask include, who do I want to see this screen, when do I want them to see it (on first entry if it’s going to show a floorplan or as they leave if you’re giving out notices) and what is the purpose? It’s likely you’ll know your visitor journey around the space so you can easily determine where the screen is going to be of most benefit without being intrusive to the overall experience.
Digital screens in entrance halls, coffee areas, hallways and in feature areas are all extremely successful in attracting attention and helping your information to be seen.
The digital signage software you choose will determine the content you show and how this gets onto your screen. Don’t let this phase you - it’s actually one of the easiest parts of creating your digital signs!
Newer digital signage software solutions don’t require you to connect up a laptop, PC or any additional hardware other than the screen you already have on the wall. Instead, you can download an app like ScreenCloud directly onto your screen from the Google Play Store, Chrome Web Store, Android App Store or Amazon App Store and then manage all of the content from your laptop or PC.
The benefit of this method is that you don’t need to find space to house a DVD or clunky media player. There’s no time wasted rendering files or burning CDs. Lastly, you can update this content from anywhere! You don’t need to be at the library, or anywhere near the physical screens to change the content, so creating last minute changes is a breeze.
To see how easy it is to setup ScreenCloud’s digital signage system view this video - it’s less than a minute!
There are a few different ways to create content for your library’s network. Firstly, you can utilize any existing content you already have. This could be videos, images, presentations and reports.
ScreenCloud supports file types such as jpeg, gif and pngs as well as Office and iWorks formats so you won’t need to do anything other than click ‘upload’.
Secondly, you can create content based on the channels you already know and use. This can include social media dashboards created from your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds (checkout the awesome social media partners in the ScreenCloud App Store for that).
You could also create news digests using the latest feeds from channels such as BBC News, CNN and ESPN. If you have a restaurant or cafe area, perhaps you’d like to create digital menu boards and special offers. If you have a learning area that focuses on numbers, or even economics, you could show the latest stocks information, currency rates, world clock times or feeds from the Financial Times.
How you tailor your content will depend on your audience and the type of information they might be interested in. Chances are, you know them really well so it won’t be difficult - and it’ll give them a much richer digital experience.
Now you know how easy it is to choose a screen, setup a content platform and begin creating rich feeds of interesting images, videos and app displays, you can move on to the more advanced part.
Great digital signage comes with experience, trial and error and looking ahead to see what else you could do to benefit your audience. The most exciting part of modern digital signage is that it isn’t fixed. You can try content one week then change it the next. You can respond to feedback on what your audience wants to see and you can add new content as it becomes available.
If you don’t have a design or marketing team then that’s fine, you don’t really need one as anyone can create content through apps and get it up onto the screen, looking professional and on-brand.
Once your content is set you can even organize it into playlists and schedules, allowing you to change the content at different times throughout the day.
So that on arrival you might have a welcome message and inspirational quote, then as the visitor leaves you could show the week’s opening times and events.
Creating digital signs for your public library shouldn’t be difficult and we’re here to help at every step of the way. Providing support on choosing the best hardware, a software system that can be created in seconds and really great apps that make choosing content easy and most importantly, fun.
Are you ready to begin implementing a digital signage strategy for your public library? Head to screen.cloud/signage and sign up today. Or tweet us @screencloud with any feedback or questions - we’d love to hear from you!