Pepper Brings a Breath of Fresh Air to Libraries
The digital age is revolutionizing the role of libraries. They have always been considered to be the central places of educational and cultural education. They are specialists in information management. Sorting, cataloguing, networking and, ultimately, making information permanently available are core competencies that are still of great relevance today. But in the age of Google and Wikipedia, libraries often take a back seat as the main source of information. The search window in the browser, which, sorted according to relevance, delivers "approximately 5,030,000 results in 0.43 seconds", is contrasted by numerous shelves in the library full of literature that the user first has to work through himself.
New solutions are needed to refocus attention on the benefits of libraries and bring a breath of fresh air to our analogue temples of knowledge.
With the use of the humanoid robot "Pepper" libraries in Germany (e.g., Hannover City Library) and Switzerland (e.g., Lucerne ZHB) present a sensational example of the unification of traditional information sources and modern methods of information transfer for process optimization.
Pepper* is a friendly character specialized on communication skills, who magically attracts visitors. He is always in a good mood and loves to make small talk. Equipped with CleverGuides software that has been specially optimized for this robot, Pepper can be used in a wide variety of applications.
As a dedicated helper, the little robot answers numerous questions about the library, gives detailed directions, and is also happy to guide visitors along the path they are looking for. Pepper always knows about current promotions and events and invites visitors to participate. That way Pepper addresses another point that is particularly important in the current situation. While working in home office and virtual rooms is becoming more and more routine, the longing for physical encounters and togetherness also grows. And so Pepper also promotes the idea of the library as a place to meet and work together in a pleasant, friendly atmosphere.
With the CleverGuides SearchAssistant app, Pepper supports library users as a charming search assistant. A database connection to the library's holdings enables Pepper to provide suitable media suggestions within seconds of a user's request. What is special about Pepper is that it is not limited to the German language, but can be equipped with over 20 languages, so that orientation within the library is possible for every visitor without restriction. Depending on the user's interests, Pepper reads out information texts, checks the availability of media, and creates watch lists that the user can then take with them on their mobile device using a personally generated QR code.
Incidentally, Pepper also takes on an ambassadorial function. Thanks to his attractive appearance and his cheeky manner, he impresses many visitors and often also gains attention in the media.
The library quickly becomes a topic of conversation as an example of the use of new technologies, innovations, and AI. Pepper arouses general interest, even among people who had been less enthusiastic about libraries.
In this way, a small, friendly robot brings more life to libraries and helps people to find access to books and other "analog" media again.