Emerging Technologies: A Primer for Librarians.
Jennifer Koerber and Michael P. Sauers. Lanham; Boulder; New York; London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015. 140 pp. ISBN: 978-1-4422-3888-6. $37.
Crowdfunding, live streaming, and virtual reality, oh my! The abundance of new technologies can be intimidating for librarians who are technophobes or who haven't been keeping up. If you are one of these people, Emerging Technologies: A Primer for Librarians is a great guide to help you get your feet wet or venture back into the world of current technologies.
This book is divided into eight chapters, starting with "Audio and Video" and finishing with "Keeping up with Emerging Technologies." Each chapter features pros and cons, examples of current available technology, and links to examples from various libraries. Photos and screenshots of software, hardware, and platforms that librarians will need in order to use these emerging technologies are displayed throughout each chapter to provide examples of the technology and equipment. Those unfamiliar with current operating systems, brands of smart phones, and ways to reach patrons using mobile devices will be relieved to find that the authors provide a detailed list of popular applications that libraries are currently using, which can help librarians new to using these technologies find some starting points to upgrade current services and develop new ones.
Some of the innovative ideas that the authors introduce include:
* Many libraries have begun to accept payment of fees online, but maybe in the next couple of years, library mobile apps will be developed to have the ability to process fine payments, too.
* Virtual and augmented reality devices such as Google Cardboard are not only cool, but affordable; they're a great way to bring the next big technology into the library!
* Crowdfunding is another way for libraries to gain community support locally and internationally through websites like GoFundMe and Indiegogo. Libraries can use crowdfunding to augment funding for remodels, services, and events such as author visits.
* Wearable technology such as smart watches and Google Glass would be able to give reference staff the ability to move around and not be tied to the reference desk. Notifications could alert the reference staff when someone is calling or has sent a question via email or chat.
The book includes current examples from both public and academic libraries that demonstrate how libraries across the country are providing services and reaching out to new patrons, allowing patrons to become self-published authors, and how libraries are transforming into publishers and providers of emerging technologies. The cost of some of these emerging technologies may be difficult for small libraries and library systems to gain access to, which is something the authors recognize, and they provide plenty of programs and platforms that are free to use.
It should be noted that much of the information in the book can easily be found online. Those who are in systems or are technologically savvy will probably already be aware of these capabilities and emerging technologies, so this book will not be of much use to these librarians. However, librarians in the public and private sector who are looking for new ways to reach patrons using emerging technologies or who want to branch out and try technologies new to them will find Koerber and Sauers' book to be quite useful. This book would be also be beneficial to reference librarians who are interested in reading up on emerging technologies and tips in order to keep up with trends. Perhaps most importantly, being able to assist patrons by recommending the best technology to use and recommending the best technology to administration to purchase will enable librarians to provide patrons with the best services and access to emerging technologies.
Review by Danielle Burns
Laredo Public Library