New Library Technologies

In case you missed it, you need to check out the October 25 article in Wall Street Journal titled New Library Technologies Dispense With Librarians. The article discusses new options for "express" libraries such as automated materials vending, locker systems, etc.

The article has an unfortunate title. I've been following the development of these products for quite some time and haven't viewed these solutions as options for "dispensing with" people. The overall idea has revolved around enhancing and extending library service and giving library customers options. And sure, sometimes it's about coming up with an economical and customer-oriented solution for those libraries who face cuts, closings, and losing staff. Why wouldn't this be a great idea? Automated service or no service?

Ultimately, my vision for technologies such as automated materials vending (e.g., Evanced's BranchAnywhere) is a full service station that checks out materials as well as connects people with other library services. For example, it would enable customers to view program offerings and happenings at various library locations and sign up online right then and there. It would also include real time interaction with a person (i.e., a librarian / library staff) via video, etc. The possibilities are endless, not to mention cost effective, convenient, and customer-service oriented.

For additional commentary, take a look at the Annoyed Librarian.


  1. Kim,
    Didn't make it to NYLA this year and am sorry I missed you and Rob.

    I thought I'd let you know about an exciting project we're undertaking at RPL in 2011 - we're building a fully digital branch library! The Reynolds Digital Branch will be the focus of our fundraising efforts during RPL's centennial year in 2011. I'm developing the job spec for the branch manager now.


  2. We missed seeing you too. Congratulations on your digital branch. That sounds truly exciting. Don't hesitate to call or email if you need anything.


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