October 23, 2017

Virtually There | Product Spotlight

Public interest in virtual reality (VR) technology is on the rise. People can view VR apps on the latest smartphones using headsets as inexpensive as the $12.99 Google Cardboard. And high-end, PC-driven head-mounted displays are now available for $600 or less, with a growing number of realistic games or educational “field trip” applications available to transport users from their living rooms and classrooms into immersive environments.

Disaster Recovery | Product Spotlight

The fire burned for days. Water—thousands of gallons of it—saturated the library’s materials, equipment, and interior. Smoke and water damage affected 250,000 bound volumes, two million pieces of micrographics, classified and confidential records, historical military documents, and a dedicated server room with more than 100 computer workstations. The Boeing 757 that had ripped through the Pentagon’s three outer rings on September 11, 2001, blasted open the doors to the Pentagon library sandwiched in the middle, the plane’s nose gear hitting the facility’s back wall. By the time staff were permitted to return, devastating moisture had taken over. Materials and equipment, personal belongings, catalog statistics, personnel files, and more were covered with mold and mildew.

Easy Pass | Product Spotlight

Many libraries work with local cultural institutions to provide patrons with free or reduced-cost access. These print passes can be checked out in-house by patrons just like other resources, complete with circulation limits, due dates, and fines. Some software companies are simplifying pass management with web-based tools to help patrons discover and check out museum passes and event tickets or make reservations.

Newsprint in Black | Product Spotlight

Beginning with the publication of Freedom’s Journal by Samuel Cornish and John Brown Russwurm in 1827, U.S. newspapers and periodicals written and distributed by African American journalists and publishers in the 19th and 20th centuries have played a vital role in giving voice to black communities, while chronicling and ultimately preserving history from the perspective of those communities. This product spotlight showcases subscription databases with extensive historic black newspaper collections, as well as a selection of free resources made available by the Library of Congress (LC), the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and other institutions.

3-D Printers | Product Spotlight

It isn’t surprising that 3-D printers are often mentioned in the same breath as library Maker spaces. “Additive manufacturing” technology is about 30 years old, but as it becomes more refined, as well as more affordable, its growing importance to engineering and prototyping appears to be inevitable, as well as its use in everything from medicine to haute cuisine. Meanwhile, during the past few years, dozens of small desktop units have become available, most priced out of reach for casual users but within the means of many libraries interested in offering their communities access to new technologies.

Automated Materials Handling | Product Spotlight

Automated materials handling (AMH) refers to any automation that reduces or eliminates the need for staff or patrons to check in, check out, or sort material, or to move bins containing library materials. Those jobs are handled by checkin machines, sorters, conveyors, singulators, stackers, and unstackers, speeding up processes throughout busy branches and central libraries.

Financial Literacy | Product Spotlight

Financial literacy is one of the most important skills a person can develop, and yet it is often one of the least-emphasized subjects in K–12 schools or in higher education settings. Library programs can help fill this need. This spotlight focuses on online tools, both free and ­subscription-based, that are available for guiding patrons toward solid financial decision-making.

Security Solutions | Product Spotlight

Library security systems are described as “non-glamourous work-horses” on Bibliotheca’s website. It’s true that the core function—to deter theft and prevent materials that haven’t been properly checked out from accidentally walking out of the library—hasn’t changed much since 3M launched its Tattle Tape electromagnetic (EM) security system in the 1970s. However, many of the latest systems feature new functionality enhanced by RFID tags, along with sleek, unobtrusive design that gives public entryways a modern appearance.

Time After Time | Product Spotlight

Digital archives contain a wealth of interesting images and documents that have been meticulously described by librarians, but databases are not always ideal for browsing. Tools such as time line and mapping software now enable libraries to present digital collections in new ways, facilitating serendipitous exploration for researchers.

Can You Read Me Now? | Product Spotlight

Radio frequency identification (RFID) systems offer libraries many ways to enhance productivity, ranging from self-check solutions to automated materials handling systems. RFID tags, which include a tiny chip for processing and storing information and an antenna for communicating with the readers in self-check stations, security gates, staff workstations, and other equipment, are a core component of any RFID system.