At Their Service
by Dick Kaser
As 2014 unfolds, we find ourselves riding a wave of mobile information technology that has pervaded popular culture. Everybody from grandmas to preschoolers is now online in some way or another, even if it’s—thankfully—only from the public access computers at their local libraries.
In this issue of Computers in Libraries, we take a look at how patrons’ ability to use information technology is driving developments in libraries.
Starting off this issue’s editorial lineup, a team of researchers at Kent State University Libraries report on a usage study of how their patron-defined ebook collection stacked up against the collection they had built in traditional ways. It may surprise you, but they found that if use of the collection is the objective, you might as well let your patrons decide.
You might also let them use their own devices, since most people entering your library this year will be packing their own tablet or smartphone, if not also an old laptop. But in a world where everyone is connected, everyone is also exposed. In this issue, Blake Carver gives some excellent tips on how to keep everyone safe from hackers while empowering them to explore the world of digital resources you make available.
As you help keep them safe, you may also need to help library users navigate the digital landscape itself. This month, we launch the first of a series of articles planned for this year on the library’s role in digital literacy, focusing first on the timely topic of the proper role of librarians in helping users identify and use healthcare resources online.
Also, in this issue we are excited to premiere Jessamyn West’s new column on practical technology for everyday librarians to employ in providing cutting-edge services to patrons.
Happy techno-savvy New Year!
Dick Kaser, Executive Editor