We now have, by virtue of the Internet, enough links about apps to keep us searching for what we need for a very long time. Searching for “Librarian’s note-taking app” gives a result of 3,400,000 items. I don’t think there’s time to look and try out all of those. Of course, each of us have different needs for which some apps might be useful, but our particular way of working doesn’t fit the way the app wants us to work. So is it trial and error that we use apps? Do we get friends to suggest a good app for us?
Posts Tagged ‘technology’
The creators of the Epic! app, a digital library service for kids, raised $8 million in a Series C round of funding led by Reach Capital, the education-specialized venture firm. Epic! plans to use the funds to expedite its growth, add to its team, and build out its platform for home and school subscribers. In the future, Kevin Donahue, co-founder of Epic!, even hopes to add virtual and augmented reality content to the app.
While 77 percent of Americans have smartphones and nearly 50 percent have tablets, that doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to use them well. A recent international study shows nearly 40 percent of adults age 16-65 have little to no technology skills.
A new app gives Twin Cities library card holders access to free and discounted tickets to local cultural institutions.
Barbara Laws, a first grade teacher in Grandblanc, Michigan, was experimenting with colors. Some of her most disruptive students (who had difficulty reading) found using color overlays improved their attention and reading. Law had discovered the idea in the book Reading by the Colors, by Helen Irlen, published by the Irlen Institute in California. Irlen’s research revealed that 40 percent of students with reading problems actually had visual problems, many of which could be overcome through visual correction.
A recent Business Insider article touts the changes coming to public libraries, detailing the shifts our field will see over the next fifty years. According to writer Chris Weller’s research, libraries five decades from now will transform into “all-in-one spaces for learning, consuming, sharing, creating, and experiencing,” even offering alternate realities for loan. Their emphasis will be on connectivity, not just physically providing technology to patrons, but also in linking them with sensory experiences. They will connect experience with the ever-present technological movements of social media, streaming content, and data.
In all types of libraries, services, collections, and spaces are being redesigned as a response to changing patron needs and preferences. Advancement in technology is fueling these changes. Outside of libraries, these changes are causing businesses to rethink their products, services, and delivery methods. All of this together is changing how the modern workforce performs its work and the skill sets it needs in the dynamic modern workplace. At Johnson County Library, located in the Kansas suburbs surrounding Kansas City, these factors combined, led to the creation of a makerspace. As the library re-evaluated its approach to traditional business reference services, a redesign of the central library was also in the planning stages. Moreover, a flexible approach to programming allowed these three forces to combine, creating fertile grounds for the launch of a makerspace.
Smartphones are driving technology ownership like never before. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, “smartphones are transforming into all-purpose devices that can take the place of specialized technology, such as music players, e-book readers and gaming devices.” In fact, 68% of all U.S. adults now own a smartphone, while 92% own a cellphone. This number has nearly doubled since the Pew Research Center’s first study on smartphone ownership in mid-2011 when only 32% of adults had smartphones.
Whether you’re helping a senior citizen use a tablet for the first time or helping a fifth grader with a research report, your library is doing amazing work every day. But does your community know it? And how can you tell your library’s story to increase public support?
The maker movement brings together handicrafts and technology in one exciting phenomenon. Whether you like crafts or circuits, or a combination of the two, there’s something for you. Libraries across the world, are offering specialized maker programs to encourage interest in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, as well as the more artistic areas of making. Some libraries are also offering programs tailored to specific patron groups, like maker programs for girls. An example of this is the Make-HER program at Sunnyvale (CA) Public Library.
The pendulum, it swings. Eight years ago, my charge as a technology librarian was to herd the cats — to introduce new technology and ways of serving the digital patron to an organization that was largely skeptical of change. Cut to now, and I’m … still herding cats. Only, this time, it’s the folks at all levels of the organization who want to incorporate tech into every service they can think of. Sunrise, sunset.
Does that mean we’ve had a complete polar shift in the way technology operates in libraries? Yes, but also no. Maybe we’ll even throw a “maybe” in there for good measure. The pendulum will keep swinging, meaning we’ve got to be ready for shifts in either direction. Sound confusing? Of course it is. There’s a tremendous tension between the wish to provide stability and the urge to forge new ground. In our quest to provide quality service and access to all, it’s no wonder we feel pulled in all directions at once.
What happens when a patron wants to check out materials but has forgotten his card? When a well respected member accrues a large fine? How about when a staff member sees a young library user copying and pasting large chunks of text into a school report? Or when a resident asks for help to fax a credit application to a predatory lender? We know the laws and we know our policies, but aren’t there times when the rules should be bent? Instances when we should speak out? Occasions when we should do what we think is right rather than what is prescribed because sometimes it is more ethical to break the rule than to follow it?
Matt Enis’ “Meet the Tabletarians” discusses different libraries that have incorporated tablets into their everyday work life. While many have tried to use them as a roving reference accessory, others have found tablets to be most beneficial and effective for special projects such as story time or other youth service events
With news breaking every month or so about a company that has had a serious data breach, is your library prepared to protect your information and library network?
The Internet is a necessity for not just checking email or research, but also for applying for jobs, learning new technological skills, and gaining confidence. If a person is unable to have broadband access at home, it is all the more imperative that their local library have sufficient access to not only bridge the gap in the digital divide, but also in digital literacy.