Mobile Max: breaking down barriers to the digital world.
Our field trial of ‘Mobile Max’ our new outdoor hub, at Alice Springs Library has come to an end. After six months of rigorous testing and use, Mobile Max survived a hotter-than-average Central Australian summer and came out with flying colours.
Following on from my article in December ‘Testing Time for Max at Alice Springs Library: Connecting the hardest-to-reach’, the findings of the pilot project can be downloaded in our final report.
The report data comes from a range of sources such as Bureau of Meteorology for temperature and weather conditions; Hitnet’s data capture systems to understand the nature of use, including the way that people approached the content and used the Wi-Fi; and, a survey of Alice Springs Library staff to understand how the they perceived both technical management and content delivery over the pilot period from August 2018 to February 2019.
Based on the pilot with Alice Springs Library we can clearly see a role for Max in regional and remote libraries where there are local staff, content, and accessibility challenges, and in particular in rural and remote communities where there are few if any physical libraries.
Some of the key findings were:
· Alice Springs Library staff saw Max as adding to existing service provision especially with the ability to add local and community-based content, which was seen as ‘adding value’ to the library service offering.
· Usage by adult males was significantly higher when compared to public library use by males in other studies of public library gender usage patterns.
· Usage compared to Hitnet indoor hubs was significantly longer in amount of time online indicating a deeper engagement with the information.
· Usage continued to trend upwards through the summer despite hotter than average temperatures.
· Max is often used in groups so the potential reach and impact of the information is likely greater.
· The Library staff saw that Max provides a great opportunity for the library to engage with Aboriginal youth.
Working with the library sector means that Max can provide that vital connection to the digital world and to culture through easy access to locally produced content, the digital library and unique cultural archives. All part of Hitnet’s vision to build vibrant, healthy and digitally capable communities, engaged in the digital economy all over the world.
Informed by the feedback from this pilot project we are now manufacturing our first batch of Mobile Max’s ready for distribution globally in 2019.
If you or your organisation are interested in purchasing a Mobile Max, or learning more about how Mobile Max can break down barriers to digital access, please get in touch via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or find out more on our website: www.hitnet.com.au
Download the Mobile Max Pilot Project Report here.