July 24, 2016

Security, Virtual Reality, and Smaller Maker Spaces Among Top Tech Trends | ALA Annual 2016

Library Information Technology Association (LITA) logo

The discussion at this year’s Library Information Technology Association’s (LITA) Top Technology Trends panel at the American Library Association’s (ALA) annual conference in Orlando, FL spanned topics ranging from online privacy to “superfast application development” on the near horizon. LITA revamped the session format this year to be more interactive: rather than offering individual trend presentations each panelist quickly summarized one trend they’ve been following, and then participated in discussions sparked by questions from moderator Maurice Coleman, technical trainer, Harford County Public Library, MD, and host of the long-running “T is for Training” podcast, with debates emerging on how long libraries should support old devices, and which tech trends may be overhyped within the library field.

Knight Foundation Names Second Library News Challenge Winners | ALA Annual 2016

Knight News Challenge on Libraries

In a June 25 session at the ALA Annual conference in Orlando, John Bracken, VP of media innovation for the Knight Foundation, said that the foundation has been focused on three key questions when working with libraries: What can be done to foster cross-discipline collaboration, possibly learning from projects in other civic sectors such as Code for America, 18F, or the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews collaboration; how can community be put “even more robustly” at the center of the foundation’s work; and how can the foundation help libraries tell their stories to wider audiences? “To succeed, particularly in a time of reduced public investment, it is vital to tell our stories in ways that people can understand the breadth of our work, and on platforms” where the public is present and listening, Bracken said.

Library.Link Builds Open Web Visibility for Library Catalogs, Events

Zepheira Logo

Linked data consulting and development company Zepheira is partnering with several vendors and libraries on the Library.Link Network, a project that promises to make relevant information about libraries, library events, and library collections prominent in search engine results. The service aims to address a longstanding problem. The world’s library catalogs contain a wealth of detailed, vetted, and authoritative data about books, movies, music, art—all types of content. But the bulk of library data is stored in MARC records. The bots that major search engines use to scan and index the web generally cannot access those records.

Preschool STEM Lab | Field Reports

LJApril15WebFieldReportsB

Children are naturally curious about the world around them. Science programs and activities are a great way to capture their interest and encourage the development of early literacy skills. Many science activities and materials are easy to incorporate into library programs; you may find that you’re already including elements that increase STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) knowledge, for example, talking about color mixing or identifying and playing with shapes.

Roger Rosen Appointed Senior Advisor for National Policy Advocacy

The leader of Rosen Publishing assumes key role in advancing the thinking and learning of youth in our digital society.

Ideas from the Labs at DC Public Library

MLK-Entire-Building-600x397

They “break it better” at Dream Lab, Fab Lab, Studio Lab, and Memory Lab. Here’s what that means, and how it’s an approach that can transform other programs, too.

Library Robot Coming to Welsh University

Pasi William Sachiti, Ariel Ladegaard, prototype robot

At Aberystwyth University in the United Kingdom, users will soon have a novel means of consulting the catalog at the college’s Hugh Owen Library. Rather than typing their request, or asking a reference librarian, students can be led to the title they’re looking for by a robot with access to all of the library’s holdings.

Findaway Expands Preloaded Launchpad Tablet Line to Teens and Adults

Launchpad for teens and adults

Digital technology solutions provider Findaway has announced the debut of the Playaway Launchpad tablet for teens and adults, featuring a selection of pre-loaded interactive learning apps, brain games, comics, and casual games. The new line of pre-loaded tablets was developed with feedback from librarians following the success of the original Playaway Launchpad for children, which debuted in April 2015. Findaway founder and CEO Mitch Kroll noted that the tablets, which start at $99, could help libraries bridge the digital divide.

How To Talk Code | Digital Literacy

ljx160202webEnis

Last summer, Bloomberg BusinessWeek devoted an entire issue to “What Is Code?” a single article by Brooklyn-based writer and programmer Paul Ford. Ford’s breakdown of key concepts pulls back the curtain on the fundamentals of computer programming and makes a compelling argument that any smart person can learn the basics—and that the basics are worth learning even for those who aren’t planning to become professional coders. It is, in part, a case for coding as a new frontier in digital literacy. There’s a growing interest in this type of education among kids, teens, businesspeople, career changers, and the generally curious. And a growing number of public libraries are already responding to this need within their communities. Here’s a look at ways in which a few libraries have made their programs a success.

Building Blocks of an Innovation Space | Field Reports

ljx160202webFieldReport1

The maker movement and 3-D printing technology catalyze innovation and promote entrepreneurship by emphasizing “making” over “consuming” and facilitate experiential learning and rapid prototyping. To many, library Maker spaces are also often the only facility within their reach that offers open access to 3-D printing and scanning equipment. For these reasons, creating a Maker space for patrons is often an ­attractive project.