With an audio/video studio, tech petting zoos, and preloaded Nooks already available, the Arapahoe Library District was looking for the next big thing. They saw Google was having a contest to win a Google Glass. Google Glass is a wearable computer interface that looks like a pair of glasses. Google was impressed that they were going to offer the public a chance to try it. Since it is not yet available to the general public (only a limited amount of beta testers), many people are eager to give it a try.
Another device they purchased is an Oculus Rift. Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset for playing and creating games. It comes with a complete development kit for programmers. 150 games are currently compatible. It fits in with their teen game night - teens love it.
Arapahoe also has a Makerspace with a 3-D printer.
Advantages of offering beta technology:
- It attracts young adult men (18-30) and other tech-savvy people.
- It encourages creativity.
- It attracts media attention.
- It helps people realize that libraries are different these days. Make sure to have the devices in a prominent place, to encourage patrons to ask questions while staff are doing maintenance.
- It provides a unique experience.
- The learning curve is steeper with new technologies - the library can help.
- Staff can give patrons neutral, non-judgmental advice - as a library, you’re not selling devices.
Libraries have to keep in mind that beta technology is risky and doesn't always work. Not everything will be the next big thing.
Most Arapahoe library patrons are self-sufficient and the numbers of patrons needing basic computer help has decreased. Not all libraries will be in the same boat.
Cost of devices:
- Google Glass: $1800
- Oculus rift: $300
- Makerbot Mini 3-D printer: $1375
- 3-D printing pen: $99--Andrea @Central