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Librarians “Tinkering”: Applications for Single-Board Computers and Microcontrollers in Libraries

Research Open House 2022

Monica Maceli
Olivia Turpin, MS Information Experience Design ’22
Cathy Hu, MS Information Experience Design ’23
School of Information

Physical computing devices, such as sensors, microcontrollers, and low-cost single board computers (e.g. Raspberry Pi, Arduino), have found a natural home within the library makerspace.

However, further creative opportunities exist to employ these technologies in aiding the broader work done by information professionals, outside of the makerspace.

This presentation reports on the preliminary findings of my current research study in which librarians were interviewed to understand the maker projects they had created (such as: reference desk statistic counters, OPAC stations, portable scanning machines, and more) and the broader potential (and pitfalls) of such technologies within libraries.

Overview, The Study: The goal of this research is to understand the potential for maker-technologies to be used more broadly within the library. These low-cost maker-technologies (e.g., Raspberry PI & Arduino) have been used in projects to solve problems or prototype solutions for library needs. Twelve librarians were interviewed about their experiences working on maker-technology projects outside of the makerspace context. Image next to the text is a rendering of the Raspberry PI.