Today, the American Library Association (ALA) recognized five libraries for offering cutting-edge technologies in library services, honoring programs in Boston, New York, Tucson, Ariz.; Orlando, Fla.; and Le Roy, N.Y. Libraries or library service areas selected will be highlighted through various ALA publications and featured in a program at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, June 27-July 2, 2013.
- Mobile Digital Learning Tools, Boston College High School’s (BCHS) Corcoran Library, Boston. The Corcoran Library is “meeting students where they are” through their mobile initiative designed to showcase the library’s online resources through mobile sites and apps optimized for mobile searching. BC High adopted a new cell phone policy which allows students to use their cell phones for research purposes in the library.
- German Traces NYC, Goethe-Institut New York Library with Pratt Institute School of Information and Library Science, New York City. The Goethe-Institut and Pratt Institute teamed up to develop German Traces NYC. This mobile experience uses an augmented reality app to allow learners to explore German cultural heritage in New York City. After downloading the app, users can simply hold up their mobile phones and view archival photos layered on top of the images visible through the phone’s camera. More than 19,000 people visited the website in the year since launch.
- Guide on the Side, University of Arizona (UA) Libraries, Tucson, Ariz. With the launch of Guide on the Side, the UA Libraries turned 12 years of lessons learned developing e-learning tools into an open-source software package that librarians worldwide can download and use to quickly and easily create online, interactive tutorials based on principles of authentic and active learning. The key: a WYSIWYG interface that reduces or eliminates the need for programming assistance and provides considerable time savings.
- Right Service at the Right Time App, Orange County Library System, Orlando, Fla. OCLS’ Right Service at the Right Time (RS/RT) mobile optimized website addresses a growing need in public libraries to aid library patrons seeking government assistance, which increasingly is accessible only online. RS/RT uses a database-driven decision-making engine to connect people in need of government and non-profit public services with the appropriate provider.
- WEBOOKS, Genesee Valley Educational Partnership School Library System, Le Roy, N.Y. Genesee Valley addressed two needs of rural schools with its crowd-sourced WEBOOKS: improved access to digital content and a way to do this at a time of devastating budget cuts. The library system created a website that allowed librarians across 22 school districts to pool together a portion of their individual library materials aid while maintaining control over spending through a participatory selection process.
The recognition, which is presented by the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy and the Library & Information Technology Association (LITA), showcases libraries that are serving their communities using novel and innovative methods. Additional information is available at http://www.ala.org/offices/oitp/cuttingedge.
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