Discovering Library Technology

Student at Shapiro Design Lab

Picture taken by the Shapiro Design Lab's Measure the Future camera

Coming into the Design Lab, I initially did not know what to expect as my image of working at a library consisted of checking books in and out. However, working at the Design Lab has allowed me to explore and expand my knowledge on how technology can be used not only in a library but also in the community as well. While working in the Design Lab, I also got to see different projects being worked on by my coworkers and even people who wanted to use the lab facilities such as the 3D printer. Working alongside all these people I got quite interested in the different projects people were doing with the 3D printer since it was the first time I was able to see it in action.

For the year, I worked on two main projects: the AwesomeBox and Measure The Future. The AwesomeBox is an application that allows people to scan a book they find interesting and see other popular books that are recommended. Measure The Future is a project that will track movements in an area in order to determine the most busy areas. When it came to working on these two projects, the Design Lab allowed a lot of freedom to experiment and try new things. Being able to experiment and try something that interests me was one of my favorite things about the Lab, as it gave me chances to learn new skills I would typically not be able to.

One unexpected thing that occurred was how long it would take to get AwesomeBox up and running.  Between switching to a different back-end language a couple weeks into the project and now trying to get the right instance, I learned that sometimes project timelines have to be changed. Getting the chance to work with the Raspberry Pi and even learn more about the possibilities of visualizations for libraries were also unexpected things to have occurred.

In the future, I will use what I learned at the Lab to try new experiences at work and at school. At the Lab, I experienced how to learn on the job and will take that to my summer job. Another major thing is asking for help and being a part of team are two major things I learned about that I could take and apply to school as well.