Librarians in the 21st Century are immersed in emerging technologies both in operating libraries and in helping patrons. Each spring the Metrolina Library Association hosts a Tech Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina. Usually the format includes four presenters on topics of interest to Charlotte area librarians. The focus is on state-of-the-art technology developments that might find use in libraries. On Friday, March 13th Johnson and Wales University – Charlotte hosted this year’s Summit. A summary of the presentations follow:
Really Augmenting Your Library: AR Possibilities for Librarians
Presenter: Judy Walker, J. Murrey Atkins Library, University of North Carolina – Charlotte
Describing augmented reality (AR) as QR codes on steroids, Judy got our attention. Augmented reality is along the spectrum from real world to virtual reality. Using augmented reality, graphics, audio, video, or text can be superimposed on real world items in real time. Information can be embedded in a “target” and read/played using a mobile device. She used her office sign as the “target.” Using Aurasma Studio she created an overlay (a video of her giving instructions) and then created an aura. By aiming a mobile device at the target, her video popped up. There are a number of free apps. ColAR, Elements 4D and Fetch Lunch are some interesting examples. Augmented reality could be used for creating after-hours messages, facilitating scavenger hunts, training student workers, putting information in different places within the library, or even having students talk about their art in a gallery display of student artwork. Short videos of different projects using AR can be found at Judy’s guide: http://guides.library.uncc.edu/ar.
Telling the Library’s Story through Social Media
Presenter: Katy Rust, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Katy leads a team of 20 people, the Library 3.0: Social Media Team. These people come from all parts of the library and represent as diverse a mix as possible. Each person has access to the library’s social media platforms which include Tumbler, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. They divide up a schedule so that someone is always monitoring the online discussions. Some of the advice she gave during her presentation included the following:
- Be really good where you are and not try to be everywhere.
- Be there and manage the conversation.
- Treat your community like people, not numbers. (Think of it as an extension of a branch.)
- What happens on the internet stays there forever. (Don’t be defensive or argue.)
- Carry the conversation in less public manner.
- Social media is no quick fix.
- Listen, then talk.
Since the project went into operation in January 2014, the team has worked to keep the library’s brand consistent in all places, found and created content that tells the library’s story, and constantly analyzed everything to see what works towards the organization’s goals and change what’s not going well.
Presenter: Beth Martin, J. Murrey Atkins Library, University of North Carolina-Charlotte
Beth demonstrated Myo ($199), a bracelet like apparatus that reads gestures made by the electronic impulses in your arm. She was able to stand across the room and advance a PowerPoint presentation by moving her arm in a certain way.
The armband can also be used to control iTunes, Spotify, VLC Media Player and Netflix video players. For video gamers, Myo and Oculus Rift will be a natural combination. As with most technology, the key is to play with the device to figure out its usefulness. Beth pointed to Kickstarter as a good place to look for new technology.
Presenter: Richard Moniz EdD, Johnson & Wales University – Charlotte Library
Many of us are overwhelmed with technology. Multitasking, we divide our attention on many different things at once. Technology often facilitates that behavior. After leading a short meditation session, Richard defined mindfulness as “the art of observing your physical, emotional, and mental experiences with deliberate, open and curious attention (Smalley & Winston).” The research findings show that mindfulness, whether meditation, yoga, tai-chi, or just self-reflection has demonstrable effect on the brain. Being in the moment also has a reference service application as it ties well with the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) Standards requiring librarians to be present in the moment in interactions with others. Libraries are picking up on this trend by holding classes and workshops on the topic, setting up meditation rooms, and holding meditation sessions in student centers to help students reduce their stress and learn to be more mindful.