Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know

Tuesday, 12/2/2014
  • 2:00 PM (Eastern)
  • 1:00 PM (Central)
  • 12:00 PM (Mountain)
  • 11:00 AM (Pacific)

Image of Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know book cover

We’re all awash in technological innovation. It can be a challenge to know what new tools are likely to have staying power -- and what that might mean for libraries. The recently published Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know highlights a selected set of technologies that are just starting to emerge and describes how libraries might adapt them in the next few years.
In this webinar, join the authors of three chapters as they talk about their technologies and what they mean for libraries.

Hands-Free Augmented Reality: Impacting the Library Future

Presenters: Brigitte Bell & Terry Cottrell
With library resources becoming increasingly more mobile and increasingly more virtual, the next wave of library technology will likely build upon mobile applications made popular via handheld devices such as smartphones and extend the same idea to newer, more innovative forms of delivery. This shift has been especially apparent in evolution of augmented reality software – software which allows the end user to superimpose virtual images within their natural scope of vision. Many libraries have already begun developing practical applications for augmented reality within their organizations, such as Miami University of Ohio’s shelf-reading app, ShelvAR, and North Carolina State University’s WolfWalk project. While augmented reality software has traditionally been viewed using handheld mobile devices, a newer trend has emerged which applies the same technology to hands-free, head mounted devices. As we have seen with many other emerging forms of mobile technology, market success in a broader cultural sense tends to be a harbinger for eventual widespread implementation within libraries. Based on the recent surge of interest in head-mounted augmented reality devices such as the 3D gaming console Oculus Rift and Google’s Glass project, it seems reasonable to expect that the implementation of hands-free augmented reality technology will become common practice in libraries within the next 3-5 years. Our chapter focuses on the evolution of augmented reality technology, current practical applications within libraries, and predictions for future use.

The Future of Cloud-Based Library Systems

Presenters: Elliot Polak & Steven Bowers
Since the mid 2000s the term “cloud” has been used to describe a wide range of services: from hosting providers who allow organizations to offload information technology (IT) infrastructure, to storage providers encouraging consumers to preserve data virtually.  The “cloud” has come to mean a shared hardware environment with an optional software component.  In libraries, cloud computing technology can reduce the costs and human capital associated with maintaining a 24/7 Integrated Library System while facilitating an up-time that is costly to attain in-house.  Additionally, Cloud-Based Integrated Library Systems can leverage a shared system environment, allowing libraries to share metadata records and other system resources while maintaining independent local information will allow for reducing redundant workflows and yielding efficiencies for cataloging/metadata and acquisitions departments.

Library Discovery: From Ponds to Streams

Presenter: Ken Varnum
Resource discovery in libraries has undergone a remarkable evolution over the past five years. Libraries, and libraries’ perceptions of the patrons’ needs, have led to the creation and acquisition of “web-scale” discovery services. These new services seek to amalgamate all the online content a library might provide into one bucket. Rather than exploring focused ponds of specialized databases, researchers now swim in oceans of information. What is needed is neither ponds (too small in our interdisciplinary world) or oceans (too broad and deep for most needs), but streams -- dynamic, context-aware subsets of the whole, tailored to the researcher’s short- or long-term interests. 


"The chapters are well written and give enough information to help librarians brainstorm what could be the next big thing for their libraries … Another important aspect of this book is that it briefly discusses theories and concepts such as technological convergence and augmented reality that influence the adoption of a particular emerging technology. These concepts help stimulate strategic thinking on which technology is suitable for a particular library considering the user needs and availability of technical skills among the librarians."



Learn what's new in library technology and how it's being applied at colleague institutions.

Who Should Attend

Any librarian interested in what's new in technology for libraries.


Brigitte Bell

Brigitte Bell holds a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree from Dominican University in River Forest, IL. She currently serves as Instruction Librarian at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL. As Instruction Librarian, Brigitte provides bibliographic instruction and research assistance to students at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels. She also teaches Research Methods courses in the College of Business and Health Administration.

Steven K. Bowers

Steven K. Bowers is the director of the Detroit Area Library Network (DALNET), at  Wayne State University. As director of DALNET, Bowers is responsible for administration of the consortium, oversight of project management, and development of online services. He previously worked as a systems librarian. Bowers teaches a course on integrated library systems for the Wayne State University School of Library and Information Science, his Alma Mater, and he presents regularly at state and national conferences. Bowers was featured in the 2008 edition of Library Journal's Movers & Shakers for his work integrating Web 2.0 features into online library catalogs.

Terry Cottrell

Terry Cottrell is Chief Information Officer at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois. Dr. Cottrell has served on the Board of Directors for the Reaching Across Illinois Library System, the Consortium of Research and Academic Libraries in Illinois, the Illinois Library Association and the Plainfield, IL Public Library District. His most recent publications and presentations cover: library leadership and finance, hands-free augmented reality tools, copyright, instructional technology history, mobile device deployment and management.  Dr. Cottrell holds Ed. D., M.S. and M.B.A. degrees, and currently teaches research methods and writing at the University of St. Francis.  He has taught various management and business classes at Colorado State University-Global Campus based in Greenwood Village, Colorado, and Computers for Educators at Northern Illinois University.

Elliot Polak

Elliot Polak joined Wayne State University in June of 2012 and is currently the Assistant Library Director for Discovery and Innovation responsible for providing leadership in the development of leading edge technologies aimed at enhancing the discovery and usability of library resources. Prior to joining Wayne State Elliot spent three years at Norwich University serving as the Head of Library Technology responsible for evaluating, maintaining, and implementing systems at Kreitzberg Library. In 2009 Elliot graduated from University of Wisconsin Madison with an MA in Library and Information Studies, and holds a BS in Information systems from California State University Northridge earned in 2007. 

Ken Varnum

Ken Varnum is the Web Systems Manager at the University of Michigan Library, where he manages the library web site and development of new features and functionality. A frequent conference speaker and author, Ken's research and professional interests range from Drupal and site redesign to user-generated content. He wrote "Drupal in Libraries" (2012) and edited "The Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know" (2014) and "The Network Reshapes the Library: Lorcan Dempsey on Libraries, Services and Networks" (2014).



  • LITA Member: $39
  • Non-Member: $99
  • Group: $190

Adobe Connect login info will be sent to registrants the week prior to the start date.

How to Register

Register Online  page arranged by session date (login required)


Mail or fax form to ALA Registration

OR call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5

OR email

Tech Requirements

Live, synchronous lectures will require attendee participation via internet audio. Attendees will need a wired, high-speed internet connection, and a headset or speakers.  It is recommended that attendees use headsets connected to their computers (VOIP) during an Adobe Connect session. All attendees are muted and should use the built in chat function to communicate with presenters.  The use of computer speakers with a mic is not recommended, as it may cause echo. The recommended browser is Mozilla Foxfire although other browsers should work adequately for attending.


For questions about registration, contact ALA Registration:  call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5 or email

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4269 or Mark Beatty,