Best Technologies for Public Libraries
Policies, Programs, and Services
by Christopher DeCristofaro, James Hutter, and Nick Tanzi
January 2020, 211pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-6928-0
$60, £47, 53€, A83
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6927-3
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A one-stop shop for libraries looking to add the most popular technologies and create best practices for their use.

Emerging technologies can intimidate with their cost and uncertainty—this book provides flexible options for adopting the most popular ones.

Introducing new technologies to your library can be a daunting process; they can be costly, they may be unfamiliar to many staff members, and their success is far from assured. To address these concerns, Best Technologies for Public Libraries accommodates budgets large and small, providing options for both the ambitious and the cost-conscious.

Authors Christopher DeCristofaro, James Hutter, and Nick Tanzi provide a resource for staff looking to incorporate a number of emerging technologies into their library and makerspaces. Each chapter explores a new technology, including 3D printing, drones, augmented reality, and virtual reality, covering how the technologies work, the selection process, training, sample programming, best practices, and relevant policy. By describing a variety of program and service ideas across age groups, the book gives readers the ability to first evaluate them within the context of their own organization before incorporating ideas à la carte. This approach helps readers to adopt these new technologies and create policies with uses already in mind.


  • Learn the basics of how emerging technologies, including 3D printing, augmented reality, virtual reality, and drones work
  • Read recommendations for how these emerging technologies can be used to develop library programs and services
  • Build a framework for developing policy pursuant to these emerging technologies
  • Understand best practices in adopting the aforementioned emerging technologies
Christopher DeCristofaro is the technology librarian at the Sachem Public Library in Holbrook, New York. He is in charge of The Studio, a comprehensive makerspace. DeCristofaro is also the creator and co-host of The Library Pros, a podcast that talks about libraries and technology with guests from all over the world. He co-authored an article in Library Journal entitled "The Chatty Librarians: Podcasting | Field Reports." DeCristofaro is also the coordinator of the Technology Information Forum, which is a monthly meeting for library technologist that discusses various trends and issues affecting the profession.

James Hutter is a technology librarian currently serving as head of computer services at the Port Washington Public Library and as a director of the Nassau County Library Association. A graduate of the CUNY Queens College School of Library and Information Studies, Hutter worked as an information technology manager before making the leap into librarianship. Interested in topics such digital privacy, video gaming in libraries, 3D printing design, and general technology trends, he is always anxious to share knowledge and experience with others in the field and members of his community. He is the author of multiple published articles.

Nick Tanzi has been incorporating emerging technologies into the library as a children's librarian, the founding member of a digital services department, and most recently, as the assistant director of the South Huntington Public Library. During this time, he has spoken in the United States and abroad on topics ranging from social media marketing to 3D printing. He is the author of Making the Most of Digital Collections through Training and Outreach, which received a starred review from Library Journal. He writes "The Wired Library" column for Public Libraries Magazine. Tanzi was named a 2017 Dewey Fellow by the New York Library Association and currently serves as president of its Making and STEAM Round Table.


"Librarians will find useful advice as they evaluate, select, and integrate new technologies. The book can be read à la carte to consider a specific technology or cover to cover for an overview of a range of possibilities."—Library Journal, July 1, 2020

"This easy-to-read book introduces 3D printing, drones, augmented reality, and virtual reality in a simple, logical format that is suitable for beginners. Moving from the history of each technology to future trends, its comprehensive pages provide a roadmap for evaluating each technology’s suitability based on an organization’s values and goals. With helpful tools like case studies, class outlines, and curated resource lists, this is a must-have for those who want to learn more about these exciting new technologies and how to bring them to their patrons!"—Monica Dombrowski, Executive Director, Sycamore Public Library and PLA Digital Literacy Committee Chair

"One stumbling block for libraries can be what policies to adopt when taking advantage of new technologies. This book provides actionable help in that area, including examples from specific libraries and information on local laws to consult. Every library looking to implement the technologies in this book will immediately appreciate that information."—Jill Hurst-Wahl, Professor of Practice, Syracuse University School of Information Studies

"I love emerging technology trends, and I love this book! The authors chose four difficult trends to tackle in a public library setting, and they take a very practical and useful approach to making decisions about the best way to incorporate these trends and tools into your library. From purchase, to policy, to promotion—it's all covered!"—David Lee King, Publisher,

"This technology guide combines each technology topic (3D Printing, Drones, VR, AR) and discusses implementation strategies including staff training, programming ideas, policy/security considerations, and interviews from people who are rising stars in the technology space. The authors have organized this book as a cookbook for success for the best technologies, regardless of the readers' technical background. As an expert in the field, I can honestly admit that I learned a lot from the thoughtful discussion of these technologies and their benefits to libraries."—Brian Pichman, Director of Strategic Innovation at the Evolve Project
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