Several people have asked me about the touch screen monitors Reedsburg Public Library is using for delivery and at their check-out desk. To help answer some of your questions, I created a short video highlighting some of the features of the Viewsonic touch screen.
Reedsburg Public Library also opted to purchase different stands that are more flexible than the included stand that comes with the monitor which only lets you tilt.
If you are interested in purchasing one for your library you can order them by going to the peripherals order form.
Don't know if you've been following the progress of Google Glass (Google's augmented reality glasses) since our last post about them, but back in February Google ran a pilot for 8,000 beta users. As a possible large scale release and adoption of augmented reality glasses draws ever nearer, this has been generating a number of concerns related to detachment (they'll affect the way humans interact with each other!), distraction (probably shouldn't wear them while driving, right?), and PRIVACY (everyone everywhere could be recording and sharing EVERYTHING without your knowledge or consent!). As Mark Hurst put it in this excellent Creative Good post, "The experience of being a citizen, in public, is about to change."
It's the privacy concern that will probably most impact libraries and their users. Already in our daily lives we're faced with security cameras, smartphones, and other devices capable of easily recording and sharing our every move. What happens when these devices become part of our clothing and are with us --and ACTIVE-- wherever we go? And what role do libraries have in providing privacy from such devices to their patrons? (How does your library respond when someone whips out a camera and starts snapping photos or recording? It may become more common, and with augmented reality glasses you may not even know it's happening...)
Takeaways from the video and reading more about Glass: Interesting. You probably won't be reading books using Google Glass (think "headlines" or "news stories being read aloud to you", short replies or emoticons, sharing... simple, quick interactions). A camera was not originally part of Google Glass. There will be lots of tapping your glasses or talking to them using voice recognition. Google is aiming for having Google Glass out as a consumer product by the end of 2013.
Concerning. You won't know who is taking pictures of or recording you. Tons of information could be collected and potentially integrated with other Google technologies. Add in facial recognition and speech-to-text software, and everything you've ever done in proximity of a Google Glass device could be cataloged and made available by Google. It's a leap, but it could technically happen.
Want more about the glasses? Check out this page for a video of the Project Glass presentation made at last month's SXSW event in Austin, Texas. The article has more information about the presentation; the video is 50 minutes long and includes a live demonstration of the glasses (starting around 10:52), some geeky stuff about the code in the middle (min 16-26:30) and a summary of what Glass developers have learned over the last few months (26:30-end). Personally, I'm not sure that I'm ready for "constant on" and I'm definitely not thrilled about the privacy aspect of it, but it is some pretty cool technology.
For the last two months Dell has been slowly been getting ready to discontinue the standard 19 inch monitor that we’ve been purchasing for several years. They're replacing them with widescreens and making it attractive by lowering the price on them. The standard monitor can no longer be purchased with a system. We are being given a choice of 19, 22, and 24 inch widescreen monitors when purchasing a system. I will update the SCLS website once the Dell website stabilizes and they settle on standard models. The options seem to change every time I log onto their site.
The 19-inch widescreen is about a half inch shorter than your standard 19-inch monitor and two inches wider. It also costs a few dollars less than the standard monitors did. I’ve ordered a few already and so far I haven’t had any complaints from a dissatisfied user.
What will the library of the future look like? Here are two items that crossed my path recently that show some possible directions public libraries might take.
You may have already heard that Madison is planning for a maker-focused programming model in the new Central Library. It has a name now ("The Bubbler"), a description, and a short video telling more about the project. There was also a great article in the Isthmus about the evolving nature of libraries.
SCLS recently purchased a couple of inexpensive document cameras for use in our office. The Ziggi document camera by IPEVO makes a great addition to your workspace if you do a lot of presentations, training or just want an easy to use camera that can quickly transfer pictures to your PC.
If you’ve borrowed the ELMO document camera or been to an SCLS presentation where it was used you should be familiar with this kind of technology. For those of you who haven’t seen a document camera, it’s like a web cam attached to a stand. It allows you to snap photos of documents, book covers , screens on a smart phone or tablet PC or whatever else will fit under the camera.
For $89.00 this is what you get with a Ziggi:
• 2 megapixel image which is capable of producing high resolution and standard resolution images. • Really nice auto focus. • Up to 30 fps live video capture. • Software package that works with both Mac and PCs.
I’m excited to tell you about a new camera we have at SCLS. It’s called the Lytro, the world's first commercial light field camera. That means it captures the entire light field. Your current camera only captures a single plane of light while the Lytro captures light traveling in every direction. It has a very simple design and is easy to use. This camera only has two buttons, power and a shutter release. What’s great about this camera is it lets you refocus your photos after you load them on your PC (Windows 7 64 bit) or Mac. I’ve been getting to know it the last couple of weeks and it is quickly becoming a favorite of mine because the image quality is amazing and it’s fun to refocus pictures.
I will be adding this camera to one of our gadget packs in the near future and let you know when it is available for your library to check out.
Here is a sample photo I took of my cat Rocky in his backyard with different focal points.
What have you read about 3D printers? I often see them mentioned in conjunction with libraries and makerspaces (and Jay Leno's garage).
Libraries have long served as community gathering centers and learning spaces, and have helped patrons to create through programming and the loaning of equipment, gadgets, gadgets, and tools.
There's been some buzz in the past year or two about how libraries could become places for digital content creation and makerspaces (locations where people with common interests can share resources and knowledge to create and build things). In the future, they could even be people's first exposure and access to new technologies like 3D printing! One library that has put this idea into action is Fayetteville Public Library. Check out this 10 1/2 minute video describing 3D printing and the proposal to create Fayetteville Public Library's "FabLab."
Here are a few other libraries who have added makerspaces or digital labs:
Want more info on 3D printing? (I do... I'm fascinated by the idea of printing my own creations!) Try Gadgets and gizmos : libraries and the post-PC era. It's a fanstastic overview of tablets, ereaders, 3D printers, and health gadgets (like the fitbit), and it's only 31 pages! I'd highly recommend it!
This 3D printer prints in chocolate. How do we get some of these into libraries? :)
What do you think about libraries as makerspaces? How psyched would you be about a printer that could potentially print its own replacement parts?
What if your library could get funding to create a digital creation space with state-of-the-art software and equipment for patrons to use? A place where the community could make movies, music, books and more—not just check them out? Powerful stuff.
What if all you had to do is contact Terrie Howe to register for and attend the June 28 grant information webinar, spec out your project, and then apply for an LSTA grant? Because "Digital Creations in Public Libraries" is a competitive grant category for the 2013 LSTA cycle, with a grant range of $2,000 - $20,000 that public libraries are eligible to apply for. And some libraries are going to get it.