Emerging Technology Plan


Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

The goal is to create an interactive tool to teach or inform the patrons/public about library services. Utilizing a multi-touch screen, similar to that referred to in Jasper Visser’s blog entry: Dok Delft, inspirational library concepts, the objective would be to provide library information at the tap of a screen, while also affording the opportunity for patrons to provide helpful feedback. In the YouTube video by Booth, McDonald, & Tiffen (2010) they make an interesting point that while librarians love to help people, the stereotype of them is that they are seen as unapproachable or enforcers of the library rules. While these assumptions are correct and untrue concurrently, this new form of technology would be a great way of introducing library services without patrons feeling like they are “bothering” someone by asking ”silly questions” or making it too obvious they have no idea what services are offered at the library.

Some of the options this multi-touch screen would include:

·         Event Information (flyers of upcoming events)

·         Event Gallery (photos of past events)

·         E-Library Demo

·         Book Reviews

·         Discover Library Resources

·         Language Options

When choosing any of these options, the user would be prompted to answer simple questions to further direct their actions. For example, Event Information would take you to a screen prompting the choices “Adults, Teens, or Kids”, once chosen the screen could highlight events specific to the correct age group. If one were interested in attending a particular event there would be the option to RSVP by entering an email address. This would be helpful in notifying patrons of any event updates; more importantly, this information could assist in knowing how many attendees to prepare for and again in comparing the number of attendees to the number of RSVPs.

In regards to E-Library Demos, the first screen would ask the question, “Did you know we have an E-Library Collection?” The next screen would provide the options “Yes and No”, if the response was yes the machine would prompt “Do you use books, audio, or video? Once chosen the next screen would prompt a “We’ve recently purchased these items you might be interested in.” On the other hand, if the patron said no, the machine could prompt “Did you know you can check out EBooks, EAudio, and EMovies for free?” Ultimately, this option would highlight the E-Library collection and features.

Each screen would begin with a broad topic and become more specific on each new screen as the patron answered prompts specific to their personal experiences. The location of this multi-touch screen would be located directly by the entrance so it would be the first thing a patron sees entering the building. In an effort to be accessible to all patrons, it would be mounted on an extendable arm so children and those in wheel chairs would have equal access.

A sample of the multi-touch screen Main Interface:

Although, it is quite possible this sample interface would be more attractive to adults there could also be an option for kids (perhaps included in the Languages toggle). The screen designed for children would present a new, friendlier, more attractive interface for youngsters. The page would be far simpler in that it would have only three icons: Popular Titles, Kids Event Pictures, and Upcoming Events. In the Popular Titles, the question posed would be “Kids what are your interests…fiction or non-fiction”. Once chosen, the new screen could present “Popular Titles we think you might like.” Since all kids like to see their pictures at fun events, kids could visit the picture option and choose specific events they may have recently attended to see if we captured their experience. The “Upcoming Events” icon would clearly help to inform and promote our regularly scheduled events as well as the larger events.

Description of Community you wish to engage:

Due to the versatility of options and topics that could be covered the entire community would be encouraged to interact and engage with this emerging technology.

Action Brief Statement:

Convince all library patrons that by interacting with the multi-touch screen they will be more informed about library services and programs which will create a more engaging community because ultimately our library’s mission is to inform, educate, inspire, and entertain.

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:

Anthony, C. (2014, February 24). Innovation in public libraries [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2014/02/innovation-in-public-libraries/

Boekesteijn, E. (2011, February 11). Dok Delft takes user generated content to the next level [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://tametheweb.com/2011/02/15/dok-delft-takes-user-generated-content-to-the-next-level-a-ttw-guest-post-by-erik-boekesteijn/

Caughlin, A. (2013, March 5). Current and emerging trends and innovations in public library service [Web document]. Retrieved from http://www.sols.org/files/docs/develop/professionalinfo/training/workshopsupportmat/Trends/library_trends_2013.pdf

Visser, J. (2011, January 22). Dok Delft, inspirational library concepts. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://themuseumofthefuture.com/2011/01/22/dok-delft-inspirational-library-concepts/

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service:

The decision making process for establishing policy rests in the hands of our library system administrators. Initially, the Community Relations Department develops a rough draft of the essential components where it is then passed along to the Principal Librarians and Deputy Directors. If it passes all of these filters, it is presented to the Director of our organization where ultimately the decision is either approved or denied.

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service:

In order to establish funding, grants would be sought out in regards to:

  • Promoting public library services
  • Providing library access to community members
  • Engaging patrons with technology.

Other options would include seeking donations from The Friends of the Library or private donors.

Action Steps & Timeline:

Yes, this technology can and should be prototyped. As Visser (2012) states, “Develop in the open. People might help.” Receiving feedback and patron’s opinion can only help to make this emerging technology more user friendly which is absolutely essential to its continued success.

An estimation of the development time would be one month to develop the website design phase making sure it has all of the desired capabilities. Another three months would be dedicated to the trial phase during which time staff and patrons have the option of providing feedback that would eliminate customer frustrations.

In the end, the Director has to agree this is a worthwhile venture, but the Branch Managers, Principal Librarians, and Deputy Directors all have to be on board for it to get to the Director’s desk. However, considering a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed 53 percent of participants desired to have more access to EBooks, incorporating a new technology in which these features would help to bring awareness to these exact library services seems like an easy shoe-in (Eberhart, 2013). Nevertheless, Anthony (2014) makes the valid point that, “for something new to be innovative, it must also be useful and add value, that is new and better, not just new”. When considering this multi-touch screen and how it has been used by Boekesteijn, this new functionality seems like it could have a great impact upon reaching out to the community in a non-direct means of connecting them with services offered.

If in fact, the director decides this is a fruitless venture, the planned alternative is an electronic bulletin board. In other words, a television monitor would be mounted to the wall in which a power point presentation would loop through various upcoming events and recent photos. Although it would be cheaper, it would not be an interactive approach to technology, nor would it provide two-way communication about events via email. It would not be hands-on and there would be no positive reinforcement if the monitor was programmed to only loop through information. In fact, a patron may stand rooted to the spot hoping to see the photos for the event in which they participated only to be disappointed that they will not have the opportunity to see those photos.

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:

Although this new service is mostly an interactive technology between the patron and a multi-touch screen, staff will at times be needed for assistance. If a patron is struggling to understand the functionality or perhaps the screen goes black, onsite staff will need to be responsive to these issues or concerns. However, it is predicted that the assistance needed will be no more than the average reference inquiry or assistance currently needed with the public computers. Therefore, the hours needed will already be a part of the employee’s regular work schedule and duties assigned.

As far as, adding this emerging technology system wide and preparing the IT department to evaluate, access, and provide monthly updates an initiative from our Director would have to be presented to the County’s Board of Supervisors. In the meeting one of the best attention grabbers might be to start by showing them articles and videos such as Dok Delft takes user generated content to the next level (Boekesteijn, 2011) wherein there is a discussion about how Microsoft Surface tables are being used in libraries around the world. Showing the Board of Supervisors that these technologies can be used to create emerging technologies specific to our library system will hopefully interest them in hearing more. In addition to this material, utilizing the American Library Association’s website at http://www.ala.org/tools/libfactsheets/alalibraryfactsheet06#usagelibs would be a great resource to highlight the most recent studies emphasizing library user facts such as: “There were 1.5 billion in-person visits to public libraries across the United States” reinforcing the need for public libraries and access to new technologies. This information would be closely followed by studying and comparing information provided by the California Library Association at http://www.countingopinions.com/pireports/report.php?df083b867174e4765840ca003119990a&live. Available through the CLA’s website is a plethora of information and statistics provided for all library systems within the state of California which could help to emphasize the need to add technological advances to our library system.

Also, this meeting would be a great opportunity to showcase what technologies the library currently offers which would be reinforced with statistical data, all while pointing out that the library is currently using an Integrated Library System called Millennium implemented in 2004. At the time of installation, it was already considered semi outdated within the library community. Now thirteen years later, our library system is far beyond the need for new technologies. Breeding (2017), reinforces this sentiment in pointing out that Millennium does not have the capabilities of connecting print with electronic collection making the assimilation of the E-Library with the regular collection a tedious task. Therefore, the need to increase the technology budget to accommodate the library’s technological advancements would be in the best interests of their governing constituents.

Clearly, this approach is not exactly an out of the box thinking approach, but in order to provide the county with emerging technologies capabilities and opportunities it needs to be supported by the governing board.

Training for this Technology or Service:

Staff will need to be introduced to this technology so they are able to promote and assist customers in getting started. Not to mention, staff needs to develop an understanding of the purpose of this emerging technology so this can be conveyed to the patrons. They will also need to be trained for instances of troubleshooting when and/or if the equipment has any issues. Staff should also be briefed on promotional expectations; examples of how to talk up the new service such as “Please stop by our new multi-touch screen. We have event information with RSVP functionalities, photographs of recent events, reading suggestions and more now available on our fun to use device. Also this is a great way for you to provide the library with feedback about the services offered or received.”

After this briefing, all staff members at branches with this new form of emerging technology should have the opportunity to interact and engage with the software themselves. This can help to notify the software developers of any glitches or issues that could possibly arise when used by the public. This training can easily be worked into each staff member’s daily rotation schedule.

As far as updating the events information on a monthly basis, the IT department would be responsible for updating and keeping the information current and relevant. Once the software was developed the IT department would be responsible for maintaining updates. Working closely with the software developer should help them to have a better understanding of the mechanics, functionality, and processes needed to update events, photographs, and more.

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service:

Promoting outside the organization:

  • Announcements could be made about the new technology at regularly scheduled programs encouraging patrons to experience the touch screen themselves.
  • Post it to social media sites. The option to have a video tutorial posted on Instagram or FB is also a great way to promote the new technology.
  • Word of mouth from staff to patrons is another great way to introduce a new service point.
  • Live Demonstrations during peak hours i.e. after school, larger programs, etc.

Promoting within the organization:

Asking staff for ideas on what should be included in this emerging technology will encourage ownership build trust among employees.

  • Video tutorials about the functionality, ease of use, and options available can be used to incite excitement about what is to come.
  • Once a terminal is established within a branch, inviting other staff members to personally visit and see the capabilities available through the new technology is a great participatory way to involve everyone in the organization.


Benchmarks and Performance Metrics:

  • Do stats go up for check outs through the E-Library?
  • Does staff handle less questions about eBook inquiry?
  • Are there less trouble shooting questions in regards to the E-Library?
  • Has attendance at upcoming events increased?
  • How do the amount of RSVPs compare to actual program attendees?
  • Are more people talking about the book reviews available?
  • What is the feedback from your patrons?

Possible Stories:

Imagine a family coming in to check out their weekly library materials. As soon as they come into the library, the kids run over to the multi-touch screen to see if they are in any of the pictures posted in the Event Gallery. When they discover they are in fact on the screen, they jump up and down with excitement, overwhelmed that they are now “famous” at the library.

An older woman comes in and asks what this new contraption is, as staff explains the functionality to her she exclaims “You mean I can get my kindle books for free? Well, I’ve been paying for them for so long that I just kind of expect the expense, I had no idea the library could loan eBooks for free…this is fantastic!”

A gentleman walks up to the ASK Desk to tell staff that he is returning a book that he discovered through the new book review option and he loved it. Also, he’d like to know if this author has written any other books that he might be able to check out.

Possible Expansion:

Every so often the icons and options offered could vary to introduce new topics or services. As Stephens (2016) states, “Changes aren’t permanent but change is” and this is true about updating and varying the information on a regular basis. Not to mention, getting feedback from staff and patrons will let the IT department know what options are working and which ones need to be more fully thought out. Some ideas for changes might include:

Community or local services for elderly, homeless, or those in need. Such as the use of Mobile showers available at some branch locations, local food bank contacts, resources for getting help with addictions, etc.

  • Providing the option for patrons to write book reviews and submit them via the library’s webpage which could be linked to the new interface decreasing the need for the IT department to take on another task, but still allowing for a more participatory service.
  • Marketing the library’s social media websites.
  • Offering Job Hunting Resources to assist those interested in developing their resumes, learning interview skills, etc.


American Library Association. (n.d.). Public library use: ALA library fact sheet 6. [Website]. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/tools/libfactsheets/alalibraryfactsheet06#usagelibs

Anthony, C. (2014, February 24). Innovation in public libraries [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2014/02/innovation-in-public-libraries/

Boekesteijn, E. (2011, February 11). Dok Delft takes user generated content to the next level [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://tametheweb.com/2011/02/15/dok-delft-takes-user-generated-content-to-the-next-level-a-ttw-guest-post-by-erik-boekesteijn/

Booth, M., McDonald, S., & Tiffen, B. (2010). Library of the future in plain English [Web video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLelhZHb3G8

Breeding, M. (2017, January 25). Perceptions 2016: An International survey of library automation [Web log comment]. Retrieved from https://librarytechnology.org/

California Library Association. (n.d.). California public library statistics: Summary data [Data file]. Retrieved from http://www.countingopinions.com/pireports/report.php?df083b867174e4765840ca003119990a&live

Caughlin, A. (2013, March 5). Current and emerging trends and innovations in public library service [Web document]. Retrieved from http://www.sols.org/files/docs/develop/professionalinfo/training/workshopsupportmat/Trends/library_trends_2013.pdf

Eberhart, G. (2013, January 22). Public library users want both books and technology [web log comment]. Retrieved from https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2013/01/22/public-library-users-want-both-books-and-technology/

Stephens, M. (2016, November 17). Open to change [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2016/11/opinion/michael-stephens/open-to-change-office-hours/#_

Visser, J. (2011, January 22). Dok Delft, inspirational library concepts. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://themuseumofthefuture.com/2011/01/22/dok-delft-inspirational-library-concepts/

One thought on “Emerging Technology Plan”

  1. Hi Kelly,

    I love your plan. The multi-touch table is a plan I would love to be part of. There is something about a tactile ability to get information. The control is in your hands (or fingers). I can see the excitement in the eyes of the children who are searching the screen for their pictures. How fun!! Great plan, Kelly! 🙂

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