Top Technology Trends

Library Life with Universal Translators

A woman wearing an Mymanu CLIK earpiece, surrounded by the word "Hello" in different languages.

As a lifetime science fiction watcher, I’ve been patiently waiting for current science to catch up to the futures I saw on the screen. Tiny computer in my pocket? Check. Hovercraft? All good. Commercial space flight? Almost there. But when I saw the Indiegogo campaign for Mymanu CLIK – wireless earbud translators – I looked at them through my former public librarian’s eyes. My mediocre Spanish fluency would be replaced by effortless, instant, two-way translation, smoothing out frustrations and improving customer service. Imagine: A library staffer wearing an earpiece and holding a smartphone (translation app installed) asks the patron to speak into the microphone, then hears the translation in their earpiece in real time. The conversation goes quickly, and the patron is more likely to get the information they need, even if the materials are still mostly in English. Of course, there are concerns and questions. The key to most…

Original Content

Tracking What’s Next At CES

CES 2018 Save the Date Banner

It’s no news that technology is a part of daily life, or that it’s an ever-increasing part of library life. One reliable way to keep ahead of what might be walking in the door tomorrow is monitoring consumer trade shows, the largest of which is CES (formerly the Consumer Electronics Show, now just the acronym). For 50 years, CES has showcased hot new gadgets that eventually had culture-changing effects: the Portable Executive Telephone (1968), the VCR (1970), the Commodore 64 (1982), Nintendo (1985), DVDs (1996), Plasma TVs (2001), and the first big wave of smart home technologies (2014). Some of these had direct impacts on libraries, and others only in how our patrons live their lives. As the time from a technology’s introduction to its adoption gets shorter, staying on top of what’s happening at CES is becoming more important. A few years ago, librarians began attending South By Southwest…