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