Siri, Alexa, and Other Digital Assistants
The Librarian's Quick Guide
by Nicole Hennig
September 2018, 89pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-6725-5
$40, £31, 35€, A55
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6726-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Discover the possibilities of voice computing programs in the library—as personal assistants and professional tools.

Apple has “Siri,” Amazon “Alexa,” Google “Google Assistant,” and Microsoft “Cortana.” Learn how you can use a popular technology to improve library services, increase their efficiency, and excel in your career.

Digital assistants such as Alexa and Siri can play music, podcasts, audiobooks, and the radio; answer questions; provide factual information; tell stories; and even control devices in your home. What can they do for you in your library?

This concise, practical guide will help you to understand the basics of voice computing platforms and appreciate its relevance to you as a librarian, outlining specific applications for this technology in the library. Discussions of potential applications will inspire you to include voice computing in your library services and events and give you the tools you need to do so. You’ll also find a list of the best sources on voice computing. In short, you will find everything you need to know about this important and growing technology and how you can use it in your library.


  • Demystifies a powerful and popular new technology and how it works
  • Explains how to put voice computing and digital assistants to use in your library
  • Addresses privacy and ethical concerns that may be raised when implementing this technology
Nicole Hennig, an independent user experience professional, helps librarians and educators to effectively use technology through her online courses, books, and webinars. She worked for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries for 14 years as web manager and head of user experience. She has won several awards, including the MIT Libraries Infinite Mile Award for Innovation and Creativity and the MIT Excellence Award for Innovative Solutions. Hennig is author of several books, including Keeping Up with Emerging Technologies: Best Practices for Librarians and Apps for Librarians: Using the Best Mobile Technology to Educate, Create, and Engage.


"Explains voice computing in a way that is easy for every reader to understand. The book is recommended for every public library." —Public Library Quarterly, March 25, 2019
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