Get the latest articles and downloads sent to your inbox in a monthly newsletter.

Get the latest articles and downloads sent to your inbox in a monthly newsletter.

Pet Stools, Magic Mirrors & Robotic Scarecrows: My Dream Inventions for the Library

Joe Walsh, Elsevier | Aug 23, 2011

Library Connect is pleased to introduce a new blog series, Inventions for the Library, our first-ever blog series written exclusively by guest bloggers from around the globe. Our first post comes to us from Wong Thiam Ming, Head of Learning Resource Centre, SEGi University College, Malaysia. The 11,000-square foot Resource Centre is located within the campus grounds in the township of Kota Damansara and serves both undergraduate and graduate students.
 
Much has been said about library automation. In fact, many libraries have jumped on the bandwagon by adopting many now traditional technologies, including a library system, security gates, rfid setup, self check-out devices and book drop-off facilities. These technologies have become basic expectations for library patrons. Some libraries have gone a step further by having a mechanical book retrieval system whereby all books are stored properly in a special warehouse and books are retrieved or stored by mechanical arms (Read about Macquarie University's automated storage and retrieval system in the March 2011 edition of the Library Connect Newsletter). These contraptions work something like the jukebox in the good old days when records were retrieved from the stack and played on the turntable by a simple push of a button.
 
What will they think of next? I never thought much about how technology could improve the environment in a library until I received a video clip that got me thinking about a whole new world of possibilities. In this particular video, special stools are made available at the loan counter. As soon as a patron obtains a smart card from the loan counter, a stool closely follows the patron, thus making a seat available at any time. These stools also can be programmed to quickly arrange themselves into an open space to accommodate seating for a briefing or presentation. It’s really quite fascinating.
 
Another device I think could be useful in a library is the advertisement mirror (watch this YouTube video to see more), which displays a message whenever no one is standing in front of it. It works by having a printed film behind a two-way glass and illumination by LED lighting. When the embedded motion sensors detect someone is in front of the mirror, the advertisement message immediately is reduced and shifted to the corner of the mirror. With this technology, a library could display messages about events, news, announcements, etc.
 
Above all others, what I would like to see invented is a robot “scarecrow.” My library is not very big, and as a result, students tend to crowd around tables. They tend to get loud and constantly need to be reminded to lower their voices. My dream invention would be a robot that detects loudness. Should it exceed, say 80 decibels, the “scarecrow” would scurry with flashing lights and issue a verbal warning. Wouldn’t that be great?
 
Pet stools, magic mirrors, robotic scarecrows … a lot to consider, isn’t it? So, what’s your dream invention for the library? Please email me if you would like to submit a post about your invention, be it for an academic, government, corporate or medical library environment. The deadline for the next submission is September 21, 2011.
 

Comments