Glowforge is an unreleased 3D laser printer. When completing this shadowing assignment, a coworker mentioned that the library was in the process of purchasing this machine. Previously, I was not familiar with the Glowforge laser printer, so I decided to do some research and attain more information. According to the Glowforge website, this machine can engrave a wide variety of materials. Individuals can create and print computer designs or hand sketch designs which can then be scanned by the Glowforge machine. The machine is relevant for library use because a Glowforge would be a perfect addition to a maker space. Since this is a brand new machine not yet released, reading information on the company website is an excellent means for librarians to become acquainted with the Glowforge. As the machines are released, librarians can share their various techniques and methods with others concerning the operation of this machine.
Since maker spaces have become increasingly more popular, libraries are constantly looking for new technology to add to these spaces. Maker spaces help teach patrons a wide variety of STEM and STEAM concepts. They are especially important for children and teens, because attaining additional knowledge concerning these concepts reinforces learning and school curriculum. Additionally, adults can utilize maker spaces to learn concepts that could prove to be beneficial for career advancement. Glowforges could be utilized to instruct patrons on laser technology, along with various digital design concepts. Smith (2016) states, “Your patrons will need supervision while utilizing this instrument and you will need to train staff on the proper use and cautions given that it does use lasers and requires ventilation.” (Smith, 2016, pg. 38) Since the town library, who employs me, is in the process of adding one of these machines, my acquired research concerning this device will afford me the opportunity to instruct librarians on proper utilization of a Glowforge machine.
Smith, B. (Ed.). (2016). New product news. Public Libraries, 55(2), 38-39.
“RedBox” style kiosks have become very popular with library patrons. RedBox is a company that offers recent DVD rentals in self-serve kiosks located inside or outside grocery stores, gas stations and other popular destinations. Movies can be rented at one RedBox kiosk and returned to another location. Many libraries have adapted similar book technological services for patron utilization. Since this technology is relatively new, discussions with librarians who have utilized this protocol would be most advantageous. Since I currently work in a town public library, the knowledge I have acquired concerning this technology affords me the opportunity to suggest the implementation of this technology.
Currently, as of January 2016, there are only six RedBox style book rental kiosks in the country. Encitas, California plans to add a kiosk making it the seventh, costing the city approximately $225,000 dollars. The kiosk would afford patrons free rentals with a county library card. Accessible 24/7, it would also offer wifi. Most importantly, these kiosks would be especially useful in underserved areas. Avants (2015) quotes Lisa Shaffer, a Councilwoman for Encitas, who states, “It would be great to put something on the eastern side of town to increase access for those who may not be able to get to the Cardiff or main libraries.” (Avants, 2015, para. 17). In smaller towns, where there are monetary constraints, construction of an additional library branch may not be an option. These kiosks would be an excellent solution and welcomed within the community.
Patrons can explore various technologies in a designated area of the library entitled a technology petting zoo. These areas are particularly useful because they afford patrons the opportunity to choose the e-reader or tablet that will best meet their needs. Utilizing this technology eliminates the need to purchase expensive equipment. Librarians can easily demonstrate the use of various digital technologies. The library, where I am employed has a technology petting zoo which provides a hands on opportunity to utilize this technology. As a computer lab volunteer, I instruct patrons how to use various devices to access digital resources. However, my research relating to petting zoo technology provided an opportunity to understand how other libraries use and set up this technology. The knowledge I acquired through research will help further develop the technology petting zoo in my library.
Technology petting zoos are extremely relevant to a library setting. Many individuals visit libraries to check out e-books and audio books and may not be familiar with the numerous e-reader and tablet options. For example, Buljung and Cooper (2013) discuss the technology petting zoo available at the National Defense University Library. In the article, they state that prior to 2012, students and faculty were able to access library digital resources through government issued laptops and desktops. However, after 2012, the university no longer supplied laptops and digital offerings were accessed via personal devices. Buljong and Cooper (2013) state, “staff needed to become familiar with the use of Library resources on a variety of devices and operating systems.” (pg. 5) Many of the university library staff accessed library resources utilizing their own devices. Librarians set up a petting zoo to instruct students on accessing library resources. The petting zoo also afforded librarians the opportunity to learn useful techniques to assist patrons when utilizing electronic resources.
Buljung, B., & Cooper, K. (2013). iPads, Kindles and Tablets, oh my: using a technology petting zoo to teach about downloadable ebooks. Library Hi Tech News, 30(1), 5-7. doi:10.1108/07419051311320913