In Practice, by Meredith Farkas

All Good Things …

June 1, 2021

What’s striking to me in hindsight is how homogeneous the magazine’s contributors and staff were back in 2007. It has been encouraging to see the efforts AL staffers have made to include writers of diverse backgrounds and points of view, and with that in mind, I’ve decided to end this column. There are so many … Continue reading All Good Things …


2021 Library Systems Report (Illustration: Tom Deja)

2021 Library Systems Report

May 3, 2021

Only a few minor acquisitions took place in this deeply consolidated industry last year. Unlike in 2019, none of these transactions altered the overall balance of power among competitors. Vendors made extraordinary efforts to help customer libraries cope with changed services while they continued product development agendas looking beyond current circumstances. Responses to the crisis … Continue reading 2021 Library Systems Report


Stacey Aldrich and Ian Kitajima

Meeting the Future Head-on

January 25, 2021

It’s a timely, if violent, image: The pandemic has accelerated numerous technological changes, including digitization, automation, and remote work. In the midst of this upheaval, the Hawaii State Library system has partnered with Oceanit to help dodge any metaphorical punches by bringing artificial intelligence (AI) technology, along with job training and mentorship for students, to … Continue reading Meeting the Future Head-on


Destiny facilitates holds and curbside pickup.

Remote Realities

January 4, 2021

Follett Destiny User: Craig Seasholes, librarian at Dearborn Park International Elementary School in Seattle What is Destiny? Destiny is a library management system that allows cataloging, inventory, and usage reports for print and electronic resources. Destiny Discover is the student-facing catalog that allows students to log in, download electronic resources, and put holds on books. … Continue reading Remote Realities


Staff (top) and patron views of Curbside Communicator.

Don’t Touch

September 1, 2020

Curbside Communicator Unique’s Curbside Communicator automates curbside pickups for holds and creates a simple communication link between patrons and library staff to facilitate the process. Rather than requiring patrons to reserve a time slot in advance, Curbside Communicator allows patrons to arrive anytime during designated hours and use their mobile devices to check in and … Continue reading Don’t Touch


Dispatches, by Win Shih and Erin Rivero

Voice Assistants

June 1, 2020

Both Alexa and Google Assistant let you run a set of tasks with a single voice command. For example, when you say, “Hey, Google, good morning,” Google Assistant will execute a predefined sequence that can include: adjusting your lights and thermostat; providing a weather report; estimating your commute time; looking up your calendar; providing reminders; … Continue reading Voice Assistants


Photo illustration: © Dariusz Jarzabek/Adobe Stock (library); © nongkran_ch/Adobe Stock (circles)

2020 Library Systems Report

May 1, 2020

Technology for public library automation has been mired in stagnation. It takes a substantial level of development to both maintain existing products and build next-generation technologies for the emerging realities of a given library sector. Will Ex Libris opt to invent a new platform for public libraries, as it did for academics? How it responds may … Continue reading 2020 Library Systems Report


Dispatches, by Bohyun Kim

A New Tech Revolution

May 1, 2020

In the May issue of American Libraries, without seeking her permission, this column ran with a photo of Professor Kim in all editions. After publication, she notified us of this mistake. We were not able to correct  the print edition of the May issue. We have corrected it in the online, PageSuite, and PDF editions of the column. We apologize for the error.   … Continue reading A New Tech Revolution


COVID-19 vendor resources

Vendor Responses to COVID-19

April 15, 2020

Library vendors, like the libraries they serve, have shifted their operations to a primarily work-from-home model. Almost all support services and software development continue in this way. Most were well prepared to make the change, because many of their employees are accustomed to working remotely. No major service interruptions or lapses in support have taken … Continue reading Vendor Responses to COVID-19


BiblioCommons logo

BiblioCommons Acquired by Constellation Software

February 14, 2020

The transaction marks a departure from its status as a founder-owned company. Though BiblioCommons will continue to operate independently, it now falls under the ownership of a large multinational technology firm managing a diverse portfolio of technology and software companies. But unlike general private equity firms, Constellation has never sold the companies it acquires. Long-term … Continue reading BiblioCommons Acquired by Constellation Software


Librarian's Library by Anna Gooding-Call

Digital Strategies for Librarians

January 2, 2020

Your Technology Outreach Adventure: Tools for Human-Centered Problem Solving By Erin Berman This title will guide professionals in exploring computer-focused library programming. While it provides good examples of tech programs that benefit from outreach, the bulk of the book deals with group planning and design. These are often applicable to any program series or project … Continue reading Digital Strategies for Librarians