There has been a seismic shift in how people consume content in the last two years with a move from television and fixed web browsing, to mobile devices. People are now spending more time each day on their smartphones and tablets than they are watching television. On average, people are now spending almost three hours per day on mobile devices and this is true across the age ranges and social economic backgrounds, with a particular prevalence amongst younger people.
Ofcom recently reported that the penetration of video games consoles is also falling as children are increasingly moving to mobile gaming on their tablets. What's become apparent with regard to device usage and penetration, specifically with pre and primary school aged children and teens, although this is increasingly becoming the case with adults as well, is that if you are not engaging with them on their mobile devices then you're service is becoming increasingly irrelevant to them.
A recent government report revealed a worrying 26% decline in library use amongst 5-10 years olds and teens and younger adults are already a hard to reach audience for libraries. Children are completely addicted to their devices and whilst it can be argued that the usage level is unhealthy, it's crucial that organisations that want to reach them, engage them and get them to use their services, do so on their personal devices. The key is to integrate their device use, to then link back in to what you ultimately want to achieve...in the case of libraries, to read and use other library services.
Library use by children aged 5-10 is now very small by comparison to the number of children regularly glued to stampylongnose Minecraft videos on YouTube, just one popular content provider. If you compare library use by this age group and teens against other mobile activity, it would be a tiny fraction. This would also be true if you did a side by side comparison of middle aged female library users v's those that play candy crush, so it is not a phenomenon that is restricted to young children and teens.
Library Treasures gives Libraries an opportunity to use device addiction and mobile games to appeal to younger users and to people that like playing games on their mobile devices. It also introduces a fun and engaging activity into the Library environment and the evidence that we have gathered from The Reading Agency's "Summer Reading Challenge" 2014, is that it works.