May 15 2019

3 Technology Solutions Universities Can Use to Upgrade Their Libraries

From virtual reality to state–of–the–art makerspaces, higher education institutions are bringing digital innovation to a traditional academic hub on campus.

Despite the innovations happening on college campuses, university libraries continue to be an academic center for students

In order to keep up with the continuous marriage of education and technology, universities are implementing new digital solutions in their libraries.

At Western Michigan University, students are piloting telepresence robots to ensure users get the help they need no matter where a librarian is on campus. 

“Librarians can’t be everywhere at once,” May Chang, library CTO for the University of Cincinnati and chair of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ 2019 conference on robots in libraries told EdTech. “So a telepresence robot allows them to spread their reach and be in two places at the same time.”

MORE FROM EDTECH: Check out how digital libraries could open the door for data analysis in academic research.

3 Innovative Additions to University Libraries

Skeptics who question whether university libraries are hotbeds of innovation need look no further than the annual “Horizon Report” published by EDUCAUSE, which details hundreds of ways these institutions are pushing the tech envelope. Here are three cutting–edge trends:

  1. Makerspaces: Dozens of do–it–yourself manufacturing facilities have sprouted up in libraries. At North Carolina State University’s D. H. Hill Makerspace, students create 3D–printed replicas of fragile historical artifacts. At the College of San Mateo Library Makerspace in California, faculty have helped students design everything from jewelry and textiles to solar–powered cars.

  2. Voice Search: The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is piloting a system that lets visually impaired patrons search for books with an Amazon Echo. To avoid disturbing other patrons, Bob Price’s team modified the speaker to direct the sound down, making it inaudible beyond 10 feet. Now they’re poised to use the video-enabled Echo Show to display search results and volume metadata, making the tool accessible to all patrons.

  3. Virtual Reality: At Carnegie Mellon University, students at the IDeATe Experimental Fabrication Lab built a multiplayer virtual reality tank game, which students operate using their hands and feet. Ryerson University Library’s Digital Media Experience Lab also provides students with Oculus Rift VR headgear for use as a media creation tool.

To learn more about how data analytics is helping universities support their struggling students, check out Libraries Use Cloud and Other Tech to Reimagine Traditional Services.


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