Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Thoughts on the Future of Libraries and Technology

At the 2016 American Library Association conference, the Library Information Technology Association held their Top Tech Trends panel discussion. The panel looks at the library and technology landscape and shares their thoughts on what they think will be the next big thing, something that libraries shouldn't overlook, and what is flash but no substance.

The panelists featured were the following:
  • Blake Carver, LYRASIS
  • Lauren Comito, Queens Library
  • Laura Costello, Stony Brook University
  • Carolyn Coulter, PrairieCat Consortium
  • Nick Grove, Meridian Library District
Some of the topics discussed have been on the radar for the last year or so, but it is clear that librarians are interested and want to know more. These topics include:
  • How to collect and use real-time data effectively
  • Virtual Reality
  • Digital Privacy
  • Security (Ransomware)
  • Using devices and equipment (tech petting zoos, robots, Spheros, etc.) to showcase new technology
  • Blockchain (Not discussed here but mentioned often lately)
Some of the topics discussed that are viewed as somewhat overhyped:
There's also mention of 3D printers being discussed as something the panel is sick of hearing about. This is similar to coding, in that the focus should not be solely on 3D printers, but how 3D printers can be included in a larger Makerspace / content creation programs that the public library offers its community.

Many of these topics are being looked at in Wisconsin public libraries. While there are no virtual reality sets being utilized so far (that we know of), there are more discussions on how to better capture, collect, and use data, how to improve security of the networks in libraries, and showcasing technology. There is also the Coding Initiative, which looks to provide resources to help increase awareness of coding as a literacy, and how computational thinking can be applied for problem solving and creativity. There are many new and exciting ways technology will impact public libraries. Share what you think the future of libraries and technology is in the Public Library Technology Community.

Written by:
Ryan Claringbole, Public Library Development Team