eyeglasses resting on a newspaper in front of a computer

September 2019 Library Tech Newsbytes

This month we offer news on the free third annual library 2.0 virtual conference on emerging library technology, how the 2020 census will affect public libraries, the first IMLS grant for esports (that we know of), Microsoft closing its e-bookstore, Computerworld's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols heralding the end of tablet computers, and the weirdest library of things collection in America. OK. We admit it. We like our library tech news to be useful but a bit on the weird side here at TechSoup for Libraries.

The Free Third Annual Library 2.0 Virtual Conference on Emerging Technology

The third annual Library 2.0 mini-conference, Emerging Technology, will be held online on Wednesday, October 30, 12:00 – 3:00 p.m, U.S. Pacific time. This is a free event and well worth checking out. Registering allows you to watch live and to access the recordings. The call for proposals is now open as well. If you'd like to present, you can submit a session idea. Learn what libraries are doing right now with cutting-edge technologies and what they're planning next. Register for this event here.

How the 2020 Census Will Affect Public Libraries

The Syracuse University iSchool publication Infospace reports that because 2020 will be the first year that the U.S. census will be administered online, public libraries will have a major role in collecting census information. This is simply because so many Americans do not have Internet access or computers at home. The work will entail much more than providing computers and Internet, however. Community outreach and also addressing any concerns about disclosure, violation of privacy, or technical difficulties will also be needed.

IMLS Grant for Esports

The scrappy rural public library in Pottsboro, Texas, has just been awarded a significant IMLS grant to implement a new technology program that blends esports and education for their teen patrons. The library will form an esports club through the North America Scholastic Esports Federation. Local students will compete in local and national esports tournaments They will access clinics and workshops about game skills and career options within the esports ecosystem and enter Beyond the Game Challenges based on analytics and creativity. The grant will cover the costs of faster broadband, new gaming computers, and monthly technology classes.

Library director Dianne Connery says, "I'm confident that this IMLS grant and the esports community we build will help our local kids develop technology, STEM, and life skills. This will help us equip them to leave high school with applicable knowledge, putting them on a level playing field with students from big cities with more options."

Microsoft Closes the E-Bookstore in the Microsoft Store

This snippet may be useful for your patrons. NPR reports that in July, Microsoft closed its e-book library and has erased all content purchased through the Microsoft e-bookstore from devices. The store launched in 2017 and was designed exclusively for the users of Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system, on which more than 600 million devices run. Consumers can receive a refund for every e-book bought. Anyone who wrote notes or marked up e-books can receive an additional $25 credit. The company has not provided a reason for the closure. Here is the official Microsoft FAQ on this.

Farewell to Tablets?

Computerworld writer Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols explains how it came about that just five years ago tablet computers including iPads were all the rage and expected to overtake the computer market. Yet they're now just 4.6 percent of that market and continuing to decline. What happened? In a nutshell, cellphones got bigger, and tablets could never work as well as laptops for work and school. Your older patrons may still like them, though. Requiescant in pace, tabulae.

The Weirdest Library of Things Collection in America: Taxidermic Specimens at Anchorage Library

We reported on innovation at the Anchorage, Alaska, Public Library a few years ago, and here they are back in the news. It's the latest find in our quest to discover the depth and breadth of "library of things" lending. Smithsonian magazine reports that since 1997, the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services has been amassing an extensive inventory of animal furs, skulls, bird and fish mounts, and skeletons. These are items that are typically displayed behind a glass case in a natural history museum. It is the only known library in the United States to hold such a trove, and the items can now be checked out with an Anchorage Public Library card. The majority of patrons taking advantage of the service are local teachers.

Hope you liked this month's batch of Library Tech Newsbytes!