Technology in the Library

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Marston science library, home to UFs 3D printer among other library advancements. Photo taken by Jamie Shapiro

As most of us know, a modern academic library more a place to sit with our laptops out while we do online research and check Facebook on the down low. Most of us don’t go to the library to check out books or spend some honest time with the microfiche machine. So if this is the case, how are libraries adapting to fit their new purposes?

Of course there’s the obvious, the instillation of outlets and USB plug ins at many of the library desks and work spaces. There’s the instillation of computer equipped study rooms and and even a fully functional 3D printer that always seems to be printing something, but what else is coming? How are libraries going to adapt to fit the needs of a technology obsessed demographic?

University of Florida Academic Librarian Rachel Elrod believes the future of libraries lies in these adaptations and how we as students are taught to use them. As a member of the Library Leadership and Management Association Assessment Committee, Elrod is devoted to keeping up the relevance of libraries in the midst of the current technological revolution.

“We deal with students,” said Elrod, “We help them to find the resources they need, while also analyzing their choices so that we can provide more useful resources in the future.”

Libraries have adapted physically to accommodate our electronic baggage, but according to Elrod the real development is happening online. Our libraries provide us with access to online resources that many students don’t even know are available to us. Websites like Lynda.com and resources like eBook files of texts we may need for class are all available to us at the click of our trackpads.

With so much going on online, campus libraries and librarians are constantly adapting, looking for the latest online resources and technological updates. One major perk of being an academic librarian is that travel is a constant in your yearly schedule, according to Elrod. Librarians must travel to an assortment of national committee meetings across the country, during which they are typically given access to the latest innovations in library furniture, furniture like those fancy tables in the basement of Marston Science Library with a place for you to plug in your laptop charger and your iPhone charger at the same time.

With so much happening in the world of technology, Libraries may certainly sound archaic to us. However, these institutions are a staple in our lives as students. Libraries provide us with an endless list of resources, both physically and digitally and they are constantly growing and changing to meet the challenge of our constantly updating technology.