Computers in Libraries, Washington DC - March 30, 2017

The question of whether libraries are still needed always come up when facing growing and changing demands. 37 years ago the idea of a "paperless society" and being "able to search the library files electronically" was perceived as "extreme and painful". Today, we think the same way of the Internet Of Things and Virtual Reality. Unless librarians engage in new opportunities to advance teaching, learning service, and research, libraries are vulnerable to “becoming just another campus utility like parking, dining services, and IT rather than the intellectual soul of the community”.

At the UMKC School of Law, we initiated a new experiment in which we hired graduate students from the engineering and computing school to help us work on innovative projects that can benefit not only the law library but also the law school and the entire university. The students work on various projects designed to solve existing problems such as a library mobile application and a room schedule display system, while the students also get to work on experimental projects such as short story dispenser and close proximity notification system.

In this presentation, I will share our experience leveraging existing, new, proven, and unproven tools to improve our services and solve our persistent problems. I will also share the initial results of this on-going experiment as well as tips for libraries interested in initiating similar programs.