New Horizons

When I think about emerging technology and the opportunities presented to libraries my immediate reaction tends to be kid in a candy shop. I really want to see more libraries have fun new tech toys like 3D printers partially because of the benefit to the community and partially because I once saw a picture of librarians who had printed dinosaur bones necklaces and that is just so cool! From the reading about the museum of the future my first thought was I want to go play with the magic pen, followed by how could technology like this be used in the library to benefit patrons? (magic pen that shows book reviews and upcoming library events when you point it at stickers placed around the library, magic pen that uploads the book reviews you write with it to a special blog, it’s a fun thing to think about). While this stuff is very cool, I need to focus less on how fun, innovative, and awesome these types of services are and focus more on how and why they are serving the library community. For this reason the reading by Schmidt really stood out to me. “This is important, and we need to keep learning about the broader world of resources that can help us efficiently deliver our services. But let’s shift our collective eye to learning about people first, so everything we know about technology can be put in service of supporting meaningful goals”(Schmidt, 2013). With the planning technology assignment I looked at utilizing Instagram for library promotion which I can easily see being used at the library where I am currently working and that I believe would be a good idea in most libraries. It is fun, easy, and relevant to most communities due to Instagram already being a popular app. But no matter how excited I am about teaching kids to use 3D printers by printing awesome dinosaur bones necklaces I can’t really see that being implemented with much success here. Likewise I’d love to see magic pens in libraries but that’s probably not the most reasonable technology to incorporate into the library right now. While I will always be excited by and interested in new technologies in the library I will also remember to focus on the needs of my library community first.

 

Meyer, R. (2015). The museum of the future is here. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/01/how-to-build-the-museum-of-the-future/384646/

Schmidt, A. (2013, June 3). Focus on people, not tools [Web log post]. Library Journal. Retrieved from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/06/opinion/aaron-schmidt/focus-on-people-not-tools-the-user-experience/

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New Horizons

15 thoughts on “New Horizons

  1. Rachel Esser says:

    Caitlin, I absolutely agree with you (and Schmidt) that technology needs to be implemented with the community in mind, and not just because something is new and shiny. I, too, loved the idea of the magic pen at the Cooper Hewitt museum, and I think that it’s a kind of technology that could legitimately be implemented in libraries with much success, but would it work in every library? I’d guess probably not.

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    1. Caitlin Ferrell says:

      @rachelesser I agree that there are libraries that would greatly benefit from the magic pen, it would be interesting to see what the people who developed it think of it’s potential use in libraries and get their insight into which type libraries they think would make the best use of that technology.

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  2. Susan Musson says:

    @cferrell – It does seem like there are people and places that force the use of technology just because it’s there. This can backfire and I don’t know if it’s because some of the technology is just too new or too specialized. Instagram is tried and true, as well as fun and still pretty ‘hip’ and most of all, convenient!

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    1. Caitlin Ferrell says:

      @susanmusson I think the forcing of new technology where it isn’t necessarily appropriate has a lot to do with how we envision the potential of that technology rather than the reality. Seeing something like kids getting to use a 3D printer seems like an amazing opportunity for those children to gain that knowledge and the skills that go with using that technology. But depending on where you are living teaching them a much simpler but more practical technological skill is probably a more important opportunity. I think it’s generally done out of good intentions to give their library community the best but you have to be critical as to what the best really is.

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      1. Susan Musson says:

        @cferrell – I’ve been thinking the same thing. I mean working with a 3D printer would be neat, but is that a tool kids are really going to be able to use at their age? I’m sure there’s an engineering or art aspect that would be educational, but it seems really gimmicky right now…?

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      2. Caitlin Ferrell says:

        @susanmusson I think it would really depend on the kids I could see it being really useful and cool as part of a science/engineering club where kids are already familiar with some of the basic stuff. Playing around with technology like this can increase interest in studying these types of fields when they are older. I think it would be particularly beneficial for encouraging young girls interest in STEM programs.

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  3. Tash W says:

    @cferrell I dunno! I think the “magic” pen in the library would be a great idea! I always want to take too many books home. What if you could scan all the books you wanted and they automatically uploaded to your library account on your wishlist? That would be way easier than making a physical list. Ok. I admit that I can’t think of another reason for this magic pen, but I am very taken with the idea of this technology. I do understand your point that we have to think about our users needs first an not fall prey to technolust. But darn it, the magic pen seems very cool yes?

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    1. Caitlin Ferrell says:

      @tashw I want to play with a magic pen so bad! I think that would be a great idea I frequently go to the library with the intention to only check out 2 or 3 books this quickly becomes 5 or 6 and then I pass a few more books I want and weep in my head because i know I’m going to forget about something and never read it. Having a scanning pen to remind you about those books would be perfect!
      What I really want is a magic pen that could scan barcodes of books and find them in nearby libraries or if they are unavailable there list where you can get a used copy or buy from an independent bookstore. But, that seems like most likely it would result in my getting banned from Barnes and Noble.

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      1. Susan Musson says:

        @cferrell and @tashw – I want one of those magic pens too! If the ‘pen’ could be linked to GoodReads, that would be even better! Instant updates, instant reviews, never forget a title…! Problem with the library barcodes is that they’re usually specific to that system. Would need to make sure the publisher’s barcode is scannable, or have a title/author recognition system to ‘translate’ the library code.

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      2. Caitlin Ferrell says:

        @susanmusson Linking it to Goodreads would be so cool I already spend so much time on there anything that could help make it more organized would be a huge help. I wonder what the magic pen designers would suggest as the best way to scan books with the magic pen the publisher bar code and ISBN might be complicated when dealing with books with multiple editions but I’m not sure how title/author recognition would work either.

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  4. Tash W says:

    Isn’t that idea about scanning books in bookstores, basically a barcode reader? I’m not sure if barcode is linked to ISBN but that would he helpful for me because currently, I just take pics on my Iphone when I’m at the bookstore. I can’t see how that would be illegal and get you kicked out. Probably frowned at though. 🙂 This magic pen idea is getting better and better everytime we discuss. I DEMAND magic pen access STAT!

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    1. Caitlin Ferrell says:

      @tashw I was actually telling my fiance about this conversation after I made that comment and he asked the same thing. I got overly excited and forgot we already have smart phone apps that are bar code readers. In my head I was actually thinking ISBN though and combined the two, I am not sure if all books with the same ISBN would have the same bar code or not. I don’t think it would be illegal but it may be frowned upon enough that they ask you to leave if you’re scanning too many books/ it becomes really popular technology and a lot of people are using their magic pens in the store. I want to track down the magic pen makers, give them a list of our ideas and volunteer us to be the first testers of the library/book magic pen!

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  5. Sacha says:

    I love the idea of 3D printers in libraries! I think it would work well with all ages in a maker space environment, and after your post prompted me to do a little research (I really, really like the idea!), I found this link with a ton of information about how this Connecticut library incorporates three of them for their patrons: http://westportlibrary.org/services/maker-space/3d-printers It looks like it has a lot of potential when it comes to using technology to bring the community together!

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    1. Caitlin Ferrell says:

      @librarysk Thank you for sharing that link it’s so cool seeing how that technology is being used. I really hope that as time goes on this will become more standard in libraries. Right now I can see how many libraries would have other technologies that would serve their patrons better but hopefully as 3D printers become more accessible more libraries will decide to add them to their services. I especially love the community involvement in having volunteers training patrons to use the printers I think it’s great when people can use the library to share the specialized knowledge they have to benefit the community.

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