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What We Learned: Computers in Libraries 2012

Posted by on April 20th, 2012 Posted in: Technology

By Andrew Youngkin, Emerging Technologies and Evaluation Coordinator

I attended the Computers in Libraries conference, held in Washington, DC, March 20-24, 2012. The conference theme was “Creating Innovative Libraries” with a full schedule of workshops, sessions, keynote speakers, and networking events. The aim of these sessions was to discuss and explore ways in which libraries can, and have been embracing technology to support, extend, and/or strengthen library services.

My focus during the conference was to assess what new and emerging technologies were being introduced and used in library environments. This would allow me, in turn, to share this information with colleagues and with class participants planning to attend technology classes I will soon be offering. With that in mind, I attended sessions on screen-casting, social media marketing, cloud computing, QR codes, E-books, augmented reality, mobile technologies, Google+, and interactive and educational media, tools, and products. Thanks to the wide range of offerings, I walked away with many new and/or enhanced knowledge innovation technologies that libraries might consider implementing or adopting.

There were some overall impressions that I brought home:

  •  There are many technologies out there—especially in regards to social media, collaboration & communication tools, and learning assessment/management.
  • Not all technologies are appropriate for all libraries.
  • Libraries will need to assess those technologies that are most appropriate for them and their users/patrons/learners.
  • Technology should be purpose-driven and not adopted simply for the sake of adopting new technology, thus “Purpose driven, user-centered.”
  • Libraries—especially public libraries (based on what I saw) are doing some really cool stuff with emerging technologies and often on dramatically reduced budgets.
  • Libraries using new technologies to solve all sorts of problems and fill a variety of needs—from a cloud-based ILS, to social media marketing campaigns that rival traditional models and augmented reality programs to deliver information experiences to patrons.

It was great to not only get insight into some new technologies but also very eye opening to see the different ways libraries were able to make them work at their institutions. I look forward to integrating as much of my learning as possible into future classes and presentations. For further information, please contact Andrew at



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