Events & Exhibits - Spring 2003

Gadgets and Gizmos

Braving the aftermath of one snowstorm and the threat of another, close to 40 people attended a conference at the University of Scranton on "technogadgets" and their impact on libraries, held Friday, December 13, in Brennan Hall. Sponsored by NPLN (Northeastern Pennsylvania Library Network), "Gadgets and Gizmos: a Technology Update for Librarians" drew librarians from area academic, public and medical libraries. The University of Scranton, one of the few institutions in the area with a wireless network, hosted the event and provided access to its network for the day. Wireless computing in the Weinberg Library has been a big hit with students, and frequently all 12 of the Library's laptops will be checked out.
Ron Skutnick, Director of Network Resources at the University, shared his considerable knowledge and expertise with the group in a presentation on installing wireless networks. Ron first defined some terminology and then discussed the various types of wireless systems including the system used here at the University, the 802.11B standard, also know as a "Wi-Fi" network. The group had lots of questions for Ron, who answered them all graciously.

Also featured were:
  • Mike McGarvey, Lead Store Technician for BestBuy in Dickson City, who demonstrated several of the latest "technogadgets" - PDAs, laptop computers, and MP3 players - a big hit with attendees;
  • Scott Thomas, Head of Information Technologies, Scranton Public Library, whose talk, "Live from... Montdale: Networking a Mobile Library" gave everyone an inside view of Lackawanna County Library System's Bookmobile and its mobile wireless system;
  • David Schappert, Library Director at East Stroudsburg University, who addressed some of the gnarly security issues libraries need to cons wireless network; and
  • Constance Cardillo, LSTA (Library Services Technology Act) Administrator, Commonwealth Libraries, who brought the group up to speed on how to write and apply for library technology grants. Linda Neyer, Evening Public Services Librarian at the Weinberg Memorial Library and Chair of the Continuing Education Committee of NPLN, moderated the event.
Those attending commented that the conference was a fascinating and timely
Introduction to the topic of wireless networks, well worth their time despite the threat of bad weather.
NPLN is the oldest library consortium in Pennsylvania, established in 1956. Serving academic, public, and special libraries, it provides a unique forum for librarians across the Northeast to meet and explore current and breaking topics with fellow professionals.

Linda Neyer