21st Century Libraries Include “Gadget” Technology


In an effort to continue to bring you specific information and examples of the 21st Century Library, I wanted to share a recent experience through a Web Junction webinar about “Gadgets” (defined as ebook readers, mp3 players, video and digital cameras, and handheld computers and smartphones). Gadget Checklist 2010: For library staff, users and our future (click on “View the full archive”) presented by Michael Porter on October 6, was a fascinating overview of this gadget technology and its applications in the library setting.

Michael is a self-proclaimed “giant nerd” who has spent many years engrossed in technology and gadgets. And, he’s not just an average gadget guy. The photo below is a display of his mobile device collection. Seriously!

Michael maintains a wealth (which may be an understatement) of gadget information and links on his Michael Porter’s gadgets Bookmarks that includes technology as well as specific devices. Amazing collection of resources!

In this latest presentation on Web Junction, Michael asserts that books as the library’s brand needs to change, and Content should become the new library brand (as in trademark).
Libraries = Content + Community
Gadgets = Key –> Content

If you’re like me (I thought there was 3-4 on the market), you’ll be amazed to discover that there are dozens – literally – of eReaders on the market. Michael spotlighted a Wikipedia site (really NOT a bad word) at Comparison of e-book readers that lists virtually all – and their specs – in a valuable comparison chart.


A September 2010 Harris Poll found that 1 in 10 Americans use eReaders now, and 1 in 10 who don’t own an eReader now say they will likely buy an eReader in the next 6 months. GenX-ers were more likely than other age groups to buy an eReader in the next 6 months – 15% said so.

Ever heard of Chumby? Michael discussed its potential in libraries. He finished his presentation with some predictions, against his better judgment about making predictions, these are very interesting, especially his caution about remaining relevant as a library.

An hour well spent, that doesn’t seem like an hour. I strongly recommend watching this presentation about “Gadgets” and how they can be integrated into the 21st Century Library.

Web Junction has a treasure trove of different types of technology presentations that is well worth browsing for those who want to catch up to what challenges libraries are facing and ways to address library customers’ interests. They have specific sections addressing Mobile Devices, and E-Books and Digital Audio Books, as well as just Basic Technology.

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