March 16, 2018

Oli Sanidas | Movers & Shakers 2015 — Educators

Oli Sanidas


Director, Digital & Library Material Services, Arapahoe Library District, Englewood, CO

MAS, Technology Management, University of Denver, 2003

Sanidas is on the Board of Directors of Denver’s Early Excellence Program, which provides low-income families with early childhood education and child care


Photo by Keith Roberts

On the Cutting Edge

Envisioning spaces for the public to experiment with expensive, cutting-edge technology, Oli (Oliver) Sanidas has helped Arapahoe Library District (ALD) transform its facilities into community hubs that attract new customers from hard-to-reach groups.

Sanidas’s inspiration to acquire first-generation and beta technology for ALD resulted in 6,600 people in 2014 using Google Glass, GoPro Cameras, portable Nokero solar-powered lightbulbs, 3-D printers, Finch robot, video and music production studios, Leap Motion Controllers, and Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headsets. Sanidas also has developed a team of eight technology specialists to educate patrons in the branches and outside the library during Tech Roadshows at local businesses and events like Denver Comicon and Makerfaire Denver.

Sanidas says ALD’s Beta Tech initiative goes beyond webcasts or demos. The library provides an impartial environment to investigate the benefits and drawbacks of emerging tech. “To actually get the chance to touch, feel, and interact with the technology enhances the experience exponentially,” Sanidas says.

Patron feedback has driven Sanidas’s selections. Previous library nonusers including musicians, artists, outdoor recreation enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and small business owners, virtual reality developers, and a forensics engineering firm have flocked in to try out first-generation technology. Younger patrons have realized the library is a great hangout.

Sanidas’s ongoing challenge is to find the “next big thing,” such as drones for business and recreation. “Luckily we are in an age where there are many new ideas and technologies, and thus far there’s [no] shortage of products to explore,” he says.

This article was published in Library Journal. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.