Blockchain Technology

Librarians Harness the Potential of Blockchain Technology—Get Involved

February 6, 2018

With a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the San José State University (SJSU) School of Information is investigating ways that blockchain technology can be used by libraries as a community anchor to partner with other organizations and to support civic goals. Some suggestions for blockchain applications in libraries include building … Continue reading Librarians Harness the Potential of Blockchain Technology—Get Involved


Speakers on the "Protecting the Internet Economy" panel (from left): Rachel Wolbers, policy director of Engine; Austin Carson, executive director of TechFreedom; Nuala O’Connor, president and CEO of Center for Democracy and Technology; and Sasha Moss, technology policy federal affairs manager at R Street Institute.

Technology and Library Advocacy at CES

January 23, 2018

CES also has a public policy track, which included the “2018 Preview: Federal Communications Commissioner Roundtable” with commissioners Brendan Carr, Mignon Clyburn, and Michael O’Rielly, moderated by Julie Kearney, vice president of regulatory affairs for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Much of the roundtable talk focused on recent net neutrality actions; Clyburn is a Democrat, … Continue reading Technology and Library Advocacy at CES


Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one. --Neil Gaiman

Ten Reasons Libraries Are Still Better Than the Internet

December 19, 2017

Sixteen years ago, American Libraries published Mark Y. Herring’s essay “Ten Reasons Why the Internet Is No Substitute for a Library” (April 2001). Technology has improved exponentially since then—social media didn’t even exist yet. But even the smartest phone’s intelligence is limited by paywalls, Twitter trolls, fake news, and other hazards of online life. Here … Continue reading Ten Reasons Libraries Are Still Better Than the Internet


Screenshot from the American Library Association's Libraries Ready to Code video.

Getting Libraries Ready to Code During CS Education Week

December 1, 2017

CS Education Week is an annual program that brings together educators, tech companies, youth-serving organizations, and, of course, libraries to focus on inspiring young people to explore CS. Skills learned through CS and coding are the skills employers are looking for, and not just in the tech industry. From medicine to sales to music, sports, … Continue reading Getting Libraries Ready to Code During CS Education Week


Jaime Casap, chief education evangelist at Google, talks to librarians in the exhibit hall after his keynote talk on the first day of the 2017 AASL National Conference and Exhibition in Phoenix.

Technology at the Forefront of Education

November 13, 2017

Jaime Casap, education evangelist at Google, opened the 2017 American Association of School Librarians (AASL) National Conference and Exhibition, held November 9–11 in Phoenix, with an examination of the evolving state of education in the US and how it has changed—for better and for worse—with the advance of technology. The future is now, Casap says, … Continue reading Technology at the Forefront of Education


Dispatches, by Marshall Breeding

Open Source Software

November 1, 2017

Integrated library systems (ILS), as well as the new genre of library services platforms, are offered to libraries primarily as proprietary products controlled by a single vendor. Libraries that use these products remain dependent on that vendor for ongoing software development, solutions to systemic problems, and service enhancements. While proprietary software remains the dominant approach, … Continue reading Open Source Software


Joseph Janes

Gathering in the Clouds

November 1, 2017

But I found myself wondering the other day: The cloud is a new kind of information territory, so where is the open, public space within it? Where are the libraries? What if libraries offered truly free, no-strings-attached cloud storage to  their communities? That would provide security, privacy, permanence, and  continuity—just the kind of foundation that … Continue reading Gathering in the Clouds


NCSU student Bharat Karunakaran plays Job Simulator with an Oculus Rift headset in Hill Library's VR Studio.

Making Virtual Reality a Reality

September 1, 2017

First-person shooter games. Military training exercises. Those are the applications most often associated with the words “virtual reality” (VR). But as new library offerings at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in Raleigh demonstrate, VR represents an amazing, state-of-the-art resource that can enhance just about any discipline, from cartography to psychology, architecture to English. No recordings … Continue reading Making Virtual Reality a Reality


Google promoted its “Libraries Ready to Code” joint initiative with ALA.

Tech Power

July 19, 2017

I probably spend more time in the exhibit hall than most conference attendees—you may have seen me browsing the aisles or rushing to my next appointment. The meetings I have with company executives and product experts inform much of my research and writing for months to come as a chronicler of the library technology industry. … Continue reading Tech Power


Screen reader software synthesizes web content into speech for people with visual impairments.

Library Websites for All

June 1, 2017

Providing this support in user-centered and responsive ways fulfills the librarian’s obligation to offer service to all users. However, paying attention to accessibility for visually impaired patrons is not just the right thing to do. It may also protect your library from legal trouble. Legal precedents for access In 2012 the National Federation of the … Continue reading Library Websites for All


10 Tech Trends

Top Library Tech Trends

May 1, 2017

American Libraries spoke to library tech leaders—members of the Library and Information Technology Association’s popular Top Tech Trends panel from the 2017 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits—to get the apps, devices, software, and best practices that you can adopt for your library right now and in the near future. 1. Take patrons on a virtual tour … Continue reading Top Library Tech Trends