March 17, 2018

Derek Engi | Movers & Shakers 2006

Embodying Moore’s Law


Derek Engi found his first job in library tech support as a high school sophomore, and he’s ‘bounced around several libraries’ since. His first experience taught him to innovate and learn on the job: ‘There aren’t too many places that will hire a 15-year-old kid to troubleshoot their network, then put him in charge of their systems!’

Looking at the speed with which Engi adapts to and applies changes, substitute teacher and consultant Chuck Fellows calls him ‘a human example of Moore’s Law.’ This adaptive ability has spawned innovations like the 2003 implementation of Tablet PCs for roaming service. ‘Who better [than librarians] to have this much information at their fingertips?’ says Engi. In 2004, Engi created the open source DiskFree Online File System, allowing patrons (and students) to store information on a library-owned server and access their files through any Internet connection. This solved the problem of lost or corrupt floppies, making life easier for patrons and staff.

Engi gets a ‘big kick’ out of making people’s lives and work easier. He also created an online Summer Reading registration database, so staff could input programs and requirements and patrons could register from home and receive email reminders. His favorite catch phrase, ‘Wanna see something cool?’ sums up his approach to technology in libraries. From helping hold an all-night teen LAN party to sitting in a dunk tank for a summer reading event, he brings ‘cool’ to his library.



Current Position Network Administrator, Salem-South Lyon District Library, MI
Degrees B.A., Telecommunications – Information Technology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, 2004
Favorite patron comment ‘I never knew I could do that here!’