Yarrow, A., & McAllister, S. (2018). Trends in mobile and outreach services. Public Library Quarterly, Retrieved from https://www-tandfonline-com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/doi/full/10.1080/01616846.2018.1436365
This article discusses trends in alternative service offerings which include bookmobiles, homebound services, kiosks, and pop-up libraries. A questionnaire was sent out to 140 North American public libraries to determine what types of services are being provided to their customers who face barriers in using physical branches. Libraries seem to be prioritizing populations that are physically or socially disadvantaged, such as those living in poverty, community housing, detention centers, and rural areas. This study indicates that many public libraries are offering traditional services such as bookmobile and homebound services along with experimentation with innovative services such as kiosk services with lending machines and holds pick-up lockers, and pop-up libraries. Mobile outreach services appear to be popular and are likely to continue to be used in the future.
This article emphasizes the importance of reaching out to patrons that cannot physically come to the library but are in need of the library’s services. Public libraries should not only focus on patrons that come inside the building, but also provide services for those who are homebound, have limited or no transportation, or live in a shelter or detention center. By going out “into the field” libraries display their commitment to customer service, promote their programs, and benefit the community.