Robin Camille Davis
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Librarify it! Considering Raspberry Pi and Arduino projects

May 29, 2013

Recently, I've been struggling to come up with a project to pursue using my Raspberry Pi and/or Arduino (assembled at an NYC Resistor class over the weekend). Because I'm quite the tyro and need a lot of handholding before striking out on my own, I have been browsing many inspirational step-by-step tutorials and thinking, How can I librar-ify this? And no, not just for an excuse to tinker during work hours, but also because I know that there are a million and one uses for a baby computer or microcontroller in the context of an academic library — if only I could dream them all up!

Here are a few I've been mulling over:

Lobbyist counter

At the Sunlight Foundation, a vintage voltmeter is repurposed to count how many lobbyists are registered each week using a Raspberry Pi. (I particularly like the vintage-inspired meter face.)

Librarify it! Using a reference interaction tracker that we aspire to implement and test this summer, we could get a quick visualization of how busy the library or reference desk or computer lab is.


A Raspberry Pi and Arduino UNO power a server room monitor that tracks temperature, humidity, and light.

Librarify it! The same thing, but in our server room, not that guy's.


Adafruit's "internet of things" little printer uses a thermal receipt printer for whatever you please.

Librarify it! Search or scan a book, get a printout of information using an API from CUNY+ or LibraryThing or Google Books?


The "Tabulatron," which uses the Arduino microcontroller, is an easy way to count patron interactions with the push of a button, sending the results to a Google Drive spreadsheet instantly. Tim Ribaric and Jonathan Younker at Brock University created this and wrote a tutorial for the Code4Lib journal.

Librarify it! Already librarified!! Perhaps the counter could include a "low-level panic" button, for when a librarian at the reference desk is overwhelmed with patrons and needs back-up.


What else can we think of? What frontiers have I completely missed?