Top Tech Trends - 2017 Midwinter

Program Date & Time

  • Time, Sunday, January 22, 2017, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
  • Location: Georgia World Congress Center, Room B405
  • Twitter hashtag - #ALATTT


Summary of Trends

Augmented Reality (AR)

  • AR has great implications for accessibility. Imagine visiting a library virtually and taking a book off the shelf for those in which it would be difficult.
  • There are privacy concerns but it depends on how apps are being used and the developers behind the apps.

Virtual Reality (VR)

  • There are low price points to bring VR technology to students, engaging students in unique learning experiences such as networking with local partners and leveraging local resources. For example, a local public library bringing VR technology such as Oculus Rifts to schools as an outreach effort.
  • Those that don’t have a budget can use Google cardboard kits with plastic lens, velcro and magnets. Patrons can borrow the kits build their own VR experiences.
  • Libraries can invest in a 360 camera at low cost for its websites in collections for accessibility. Stats for virtual visits can count as a gate count stat.
  • There is VR software available such as Google Expedition and if you have a cellphone, laptop, Google cardboard, you can lead patrons through on a virtual tour.

Fostering Technology-Loving Students


  • There are gaming platforms that are freely accessible in order to engage students and have fun in a library setting.
  • You can use these platforms for library orientation and also great to use in a classroom setting.
  • Examples of such platforms are KahootSocrative, Quizlet, and Quizalize.

Libraries Developing Applications

  • Instead of libraries reacting to new technologies, we can develop applications ourselves, where issues like privacy is more of a concern.

Innovative Approaches to Library Services

  • Automated Interlibrary loan services that eliminates processing time for borrowing processes.
  • This saves time for library staff so that they can focus on more higher-level tasks.


Panelists Bios

Ken Varnum (Moderator)
Senior Program Manager, University of Michigan Library

Ken Varnum is the Senior Program Manager at the University of Michigan Library. Ken's research and professional interests include discovery systems, content management, and user-generated content. From 2007-2015 he was the Web Systems Manager at the U-M Library, where he managed the library's Drupal-driven website. ALA Editions  published his most recent book, "Exploring Discovery: The Front Door to Your Library’s Licensed and Digitized Content," in April 2016. He previously wrote "Drupal in Libraries" (2012), compiled "The Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know" (2014), and edited "The Network Reshapes the Library: Lorcan Dempsey on Libraries, Services and Networks" (2014). You can learn more about Ken at and find him on Twitter at @varnum.


Cynthia Hart
Emerging Technologies Librarian, Virginia Beach Public Library

Cindy has been a public librarian for almost 30 years. For more than a decade, she managed VBPL’s intranet and Internet sites. Among her accomplishments include establishing the library’s social media presence, coordinating gaming and multimedia projects across the system, and developing and implementing technology tools and training, including coding classes for everyone from preschoolers to adults. She also facilitated VBPL’s partnership with TagWhat, making the library the first in the nation to be included in the mobile app, using augmented reality for rich, location-based storytelling and showcasing local history collections. In her current role, Cindy is a trend-watcher, identifying and writing about emerging technologies.


Bill Jones
IDS Project Creative Technologist, SUNY Geneseo Milne Library

Bill Jones is the IDS Project Creative Technologist at SUNY Geneseo Milne Library and serves as the State University of New York Librarians Association President, the ALA RUSA STARS Webmaster, and is a member of the RUSA STARS Promotion & Outreach committee.  Since 2010, Bill has contributed to the IDS Project through web development, software development, research, publishing, training, hands-on support, marketing, and administration.


Gena Marker
Teacher-Librarian, Centennial High School, West Ada School District

Gena has worked in secondary education for over 20 years, and has been the teacher-librarian at CHS since 2008. She has served on SPLAT, Idaho's technology-focused Special Projects Library Action Team, as well as president of the Idaho Library Association. She has a passion for encouraging high school students to be Makers, and served on a school district-wide committee to design Makerspaces for all schools. She enjoys spending her days helping students and teachers learn new ideas.


Meredith Powers
Young Adult Librarian, Brooklyn Public Library

Meredith is a Young Adult Librarian at Brooklyn Public Library. She previously worked as part of a team of librarians at EdLab, a design and development unit at the Teachers College, Columbia University library, as well as part of the Web Archiving team for the New York Art Resources Consortium. Meredith currently serves as the project manager for a community garden at her neighborhood branch library, teaches workshops on digital literacy and data privacy as part of the IMLS-funded Data Privacy Project, and develops and refines web literacy curriculum for Mozilla Learning. Her personal and professional goals are have always been oriented toward providing equitable and sustainable access to information and knowledge, and she's particularly interested in harnessing emerging technologies to democratize that access. 

Contact the TTT Committee